Saturday, March 3, 2012
Mitt Romney Wins Washington
Washington Caucus (77% reporting)
Romney -- 36%
Paul -- 25%
Santorum -- 24%
Gingrich -- 11%
Given the fact that Washington is naturally a pro-Romney state, is there any significance to this win, other than contributing to the narrative of Romney's recovery and/or winning streak? Yes. Recall that both Colorado and Maine were also pro-Romney states. Romney didn't perform nearly as well in those February caucuses: Romney only won Maine by 3 points over Paul, and he lost Colorado by 5 to Santorum. Tonight in Washington, Romney blew his competition out of the water.
It's also significant that Romney was able to do so without committing resources there (i.e. airing anti-Santorum ads). It's possible that this result indicates Santorum's support is falling away more rapidly now. Compared to Santorum's performance in Colorado back in February, there's been a roughly 15-point swing in Romney's favor. Voters across the nation are more familiar with Santorum's weaknesses, and watching the Democrats attempt to give Santorum the win in Michigan created an incentive for Republicans to close ranks around Romney.
Nevertheless, the real test will come on Super Tuesday, March 6th. States in all different regions of the country will be voting, and the true extent of Santorum's strength will be made clear.