Lost amid the post–Super Tuesday analysis is the fact that Barack Obama actually got more votes than Mitt Romney in the crucial battleground state of Ohio last night, 547,588 to 456,205, according to the Ohio secretary of state.
That statistic is largely symbolic, but it is indicative of Romney’s weaknesses as a candidate (and Obama’s rebounding strength), which has become magnified as the GOP primary goes on. Self-identified Republicans made up 69 percent of GOP primary voters in Ohio, but only 65 percent of GOP primary voters said they would “definitely” vote for the GOP nominee in November.
The real story of the GOP primary—and Super Tuesday—is not that Romney won’t be the GOP nominee (he will be, eventually), but how bruised he will be entering the general election. The polling on Romney over the past week has been dreadful for the Republican frontrunner.
In the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Obama leads Romney by six points (50-44) among all voters, seven points among independents (46-39) and eighteen points among women (55-37). Last year Romney led Obama among working-class white voters by 14 points (52-38); now that lead is down to five. Notes Ron Brownstein: “By comparison, in 2008 non-college white voters backed John McCain over Obama by a resounding 58 percent to 40 percent; Republicans won even more of them (63 percent) in the 2010 Congressional election…. No Democratic presidential nominee since 1988 has carried more than 44 percent of non-college white voters.” Romney’s blue-collar problem is one of many he’ll face entering a general election.
According to Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, Obama leads Romney by twenty-five points (65-30) among unmarried women—a crucial segment of the Democratic base that dropped off in 2010. And he leads Romney by a staggering fifty-six points among Latino voters (70-14), a twenty-point improvement for Obama over John McCain in 2008. If these numbers hold, Obama will defeat Romney in every Western swing state and almost certainly win re-election.
Indeed, Romney is looking less like Ronald Reagan and more like Bob Dole as the race intensifies. Writes Neil King of the Wall Street Journal: