Who won the most votes in Tuesday night’s primary elections?
When it comes to the sheer mass of votes cast, Barack Obama—the man Romney desperately wants to start campaigning against after being so distracted for so long by Santorum—actually had the best night of any presidential contender.
Indeed, it was a dramatically better night for Obama than for Romney—even if all the attention, and the headlines, went to the Republican. The president, running unopposed in Democratic primaries so low-profile that many voters did not know they were occurring, was far and away Tuesday’s top vote-getter.
The point here is not to diminish Romney’s win, nor the significant boost Tuesday’s results give him in his pursuit of the Republican nod.
But it is important to note that, as Romney was celebrating his "victory," Obama—running uncontested in primaries so low-profile that their results were not even reported in much of the coverage of Tuesday’s voting—was quietly collecting more votes.
To be sure, Romney won the primaries in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia. And, by besting Rick Santorum and the remainder of the Republican field, Romney earned his share of "hat trick" and "trifecta" headlines.
"Romney Sweeps…" declared the the New York Times.
But Romney barely beat Santorum in Wisconsin, running ahead of his underfunded challenger by a roughly 42–38 margin. In Maryland, Romney did better, but he still fell well short of the 50 percent mark—maintaining a pattern that has held across the vast majority of GOP primary and caucus states.
Only in the District of Columbia did Romney secure what could reasonably be described as a sweeping victory. The percentages there looked great: Romney 70 percent, Ron Paul 12 percent, Newt Gingrich 11 percent, Jon Huntsman (in one of the better finishes of the season for a non-candidate) 7 percent.
But Romney’s actual vote in the super-low turnout District of Columbia GOP primary was just 3,122.
It wasn’t all that much better in Maryland, where, with all the votes counted, Romney was well below the 120,000 vote mark.
And in Wisconsin, with 97 percent counted, Romney was only at 305,000.
Romney’s three-state total was better than Santorum, Gingrich or Paul.