It wasn’t a great night for Mitt Romney — but
it wasn’t a particularly bad one either. He won by big margins in the four states he was supposed to: Massachussetts, Vermont, Virginia and Idaho. He also won Alaska by a four-point margin
and managed to beat Rick Santorum by just one point in Ohio. The fact that he finished way behind Newt Gingrich in Georgia was no surprise, nor was his losing to Santorum in Oklahoma. He could have
done with better results in North Dakota (third, 16 points behind Santorum and 4 behind Ron Paul) and Tennessee (second, 9 points behind Santorum), but six wins from ten states is probably about
what he was expecting.
But the headlines — always more important than the vote counts themselves — won’t be what he was hoping to read this morning. CNN’s ‘No knockout blow for Romney’
sums up the ‘could have done better’ feeling about the frontrunner’s results. And it means Romney will have to endure at least another seven weeks of primary warfare, and even
longer if he fails to land that ‘knockout blow’ in the five primaries (including New York and Pennsylvania) on 24 April. The happiest campaign team this morning will no doubt be the
Despite that, Romney will probably not be too disappointed with what he achieved last night. As he said in his speech (above), it’s the delegates that matter most to him:
‘We’re doing some counting. We’re counting up the delegates for the convention and it looks good.’
And indeed it does. As I suggested yesterday, the lack of an overwhelming result hasn’t prevented him from extending his lead from around 100 delegates to around 200. He’s
still a long way short of the 1,144 he needs to claim the nomination, but it’s becoming harder and harder to see one of his opponents getting there.