Mitt Romney won easily in Arizona today, and various sources are calling Michigan for him as well. From my own review of the voting in Michigan, which is reported here, it seems that Romney’s lead should increase through the evening, as he is winning big in the heavily populated counties around Detroit.
This despite the fact that, according to exit polls, around 10% of the voters in the GOP primary are Democrats. In an echo of Rush Limbaugh’s 2008 “Operation Chaos,” Democrats and union officials have urged their followers to vote for Santorum so as to promote a weak Republican nominee. Michael Moore advised his fans to vote for Santorum, which probably produced six or seven ballots. Still, if 10% of the voters in the primary were Democrats, and if 80% of them voted for Santorum–a conservative estimate–it added 6% to his total. If my arithmetic is correct, that means that if Romney wins by, say, five points, he actually won by 11 points among Republicans. Right? No doubt a reader will correct my math, but that should be in the ballpark.
As for delegates, Michigan allots its on a proportional basis, by Congressional district. So the delegate count may not track with the popular vote. That is pretty much immaterial, however; the only thing most people will care about is that Romney won Michigan.
Arizona claims that its primary is winner take all, but it isn’t. As we have noted before, the Republican Party’s rules clearly provide that any state that holds its primary before April 1 must award delegates on a proportional basis. Again, however, this is of little significance. Going into Super Tuesday, all that really matters is that Romney won Arizona.
UPDATE: Real Clear Politics tabulates the popular vote so far. Romney has a commanding lead: