For Mitt Romney, tonight's victory in Michigan was an absolute success. He did better in tonight's primary than he did four years ago in the 2008 primary. In 2008, he got 39% of the vote with 338,316 votes going to Mitt Romney. According to the New York Times, Mitt Romney defeated Rick Santorum by 31,119 votes with Romney receiving 403,886 votes whereas Santorum got 372, 747 votes. Moreover, Mitt Romney won 41% to Rick Santorum's 37%. This is an achievement for Romney since he has beaten his 2008 total votes by a wider margin.
For Rick Santorum, he suffered a devastating loss in Michigan tonight. His loss is embarrassing for him for a number of reasons. He made robocalls to democrats across the state begging them to help him defeat Romney and was successful in getting them to the voting booth:
According to CNN, 10% of those who voted in the primary identified themselves as Democrats, representing a larger share of the electorate than in the 2008 vote. Of that group, 50% said they voted for Santorum, 19% for Ron Paul and 15% for Romney, exit polling showed.
That result would suggest that the combined efforts of the Santorum campaign and state Democrats to appeal to the left were successful, though their motivations were different.
Santorum said his campaign launched automated calls to urge Democrats to vote because the GOP needs to show "we can attract voters we need to win states like Michigan" in November. Many Democrats had a different goal: prevent Romney from winning his native state and extend the Republican battle for the nomination. An article in the Detroit Free Press quoted several Democrats who said they voted for Santorum on Tuesday, but would vote for President Obama in November.
However, Rick Santorum's efforts and the Democratic Party's attempt to derail Mitt Romney failed.
Rick Santorum's loss tonight is also embarrasing due to the fact that he lost the female vote by a wide margin with only 38% while Mitt Romney had 43% of women voting for him. Finally, Santorum got 37% of the Catholic vote while Romney received 43%.
Moreover, Rick Santorum had a significant polling lead a week before the Michigan primary but saw it quickly evaporate after a dismal performance at the CNN Arizona debate. His lead also disappeared because the voters began to look deeply into Santorum's record and were not pleased with what they found. He was not the conservative he held himself out to be.
Rick Santorum is going to have an uphill climb trying to defeat Mitt Romney. He's already has lost 9 delegates in Ohio. He's not on the Virginia ballot and was initially not on the Indiana ballot but is apparently now on the ballot. I don't see Rick Santorum staying in the race after Super Tuesday.
Mitt Romney also did a great job in Arizona. He clobbered Rick Santorum with winning 47% of the vote with 213, 706 votes while Santorum only got 26% of the vote with only 121,197 votes. In 2008, Mitt Romney lost to John Mcain, got only 34% of the vote and received 186,938 votes Just as Mitt Romney improved his game from the 2008 Primary, he did better tonight than he did in 2008 in almost every county in the state.
Mitt Romney will continue to do well on Super Tuesday and beyond. However, I predict that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich will drop out of the race after Super Tuesday while Ron Paul will hang on until the bitter end. I also see Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination in Tampa, Florida.