Super Tuesday: What we learned

By Philip Elliott

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 7 2012 1:35 a.m. MST

SOUTHERNERS DON'T LIKE ROMNEY

Look where Romney is winning. It's not in the South.

Romney does well in the Northeast and Midwest, but he is running weak below the Mason-Dixon line. South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee — and, to the west, Oklahoma — all have rejected Romney. The upcoming calendar gives him scant reason to be optimistic: Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana all have contests this month.

Sure, Romney won Florida, but that is hardly a Southern state by tradition. And Virginia was a contest between only Romney and Paul — hardly a real choice among rank-and-file Republicans who see the Texas congressman as outside the mainstream of conservative positions.

Can Romney become the GOP nominee if he can't win in the party's only regional stronghold?

OHIO IS WHERE IT'S AT

Step aside, Florida. Ohio remains the ultimate down-to-the-wire presidential state.

Ohio is a microcosm of the country. It has urban centers and sprawling farms. It has diversity in both race and income. It has conservative strongholds in the southwest corner, where Sen. Rob Portman rallied his neighbors to deliver votes for Romney. It has liberal bastions in the northeast, near Cleveland, where moderates sometimes defect to Republicans. Its eastern and southern edges are Appalachia and tend to be filled with more swing voters.

In the end, Romney won the state that no Republican has ever lost on a successful White House run.

PAUL A NONFACTOR

Another primary night went by without Paul winning a primary. Sure, he picked up delegates and he increased the chances he will have a say in deciding the party's platform come the convention in Tampa. But he isn't posting the wins he needs if he's going to be the late-surging nominee.

Romney offered faint praise to Paul "for his steadfast commitment to our Constitution and his strong support almost everywhere you go. He's got good followers."

Just not enough so far, it seems.

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