Mitt Romney will exit the ten Super Tuesday contests with more delegates than anyone else, but his political reputation damaged.
Given his crushing financial advantage, Romney should have done better tonight.
He lost Oklahoma to Rick Santorum, despite the endorsement of the state’s most popular politician — populist U.S. senator Tom Coburn.
He won Virginia, where his only opponent was Ron Paul, by only 59 percent to 41 percent. He lost significant cities ranging from upper-crust Charlottesville to working-class Lynchburg.
Late-reporting urban areas may still give Romney a win in Ohio, but it is striking that he is struggling so much in a state where he carpet-bombed Rick Santorum the way he did. And in Ohio — unlike Michigan — there was no semi-organized effort among Democrats to embarrass him by casting votes for Santorum. Romney won among those voters who saw electability in November as their prime concern; his problem was that many voters had other priorities. Evangelicals continued to resist him, as did many blue-collar workers and the most conservative of voters.
Mitt Romney remains the favorite for the GOP nomination, but if his campaign doesn’t realize that tonight’s results are real danger signals for their man — with regard to both later primaries and the November election — they are fooling themselves.