Mitt Romney came out ahead on Super Tuesday in the same way he's won most contests this primary cycle: with a resounding "Meh." He dominated Massachusetts (72.1%), had a strong finish in Massachusetts Junior (39.8% in VT), won the Idaho and Alaska caucuses, and pulled out a 1% victory over Rick Santorum in Ohio that was just unimpressive enough to keep the political media speculating about a "brokered convention" in August.
So what did we learn?
1. Romney dominated among the key "people who want to vote for someone who appears on the ballot" demographic. Despite the close finish, Romney is expected to pick up 35 delegates from Ohio compared to Santorum's 21, in part due to Santorum's failure to qualify for the ballot in three districts. In Virginia, Romney will come away with 43 delegates to Ron Paul's 3.
2. If the convention is "brokered," Sarah Palin will be the wrong person to "fixer" it. In the Alaska caucuses, Palin cast her ballot for "the cheerful one…"
"Who can best bust through that radical left's kind of dispensation and desire to mistreat those who are defenseless, mistreat those who perhaps have some disadvantages by making them more beholden to government? Who best can contrast themselves from that?" she continued. “I thought who best could do that [and] my own personal opinion is, the cheerful one, is Newt Gingrich. I have appreciated what he has stood for, stood boldly for."
Newt Gingrich came in fourth in Alaska.
3. Indecision punditry is not to be messed with. Here's my colleague Gonzalo's prediction: "I predict Mitt Romney will be the big winner but the news coverage will still make it seem like he lost somehow." And the Atlantic this morning…
If [Romney] does manage to pull it out, it seems clear it will be not with a bang but a whimper. As in Ohio, it will be narrowly, down to the wire, and with the maximum amount of stress and suffering.
On to Guam and the Virgin Islands!
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images
Tags: Alaska, Idaho, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ohio, Primaries, Republicans, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Sarah Palin, Super Tuesday, Virginia