Romney gains momentum from Michigan – but can it carry him through Super Tuesday?

Republican frontrunner concentrates on economy ahead of next week's crucial votes in 10 states

Detroit, Michigan

After his slim victory in his native state of Michigan, Mitt Romney sped to Ohio yesterday, where he faces another battle on "Super Tuesday" in five days' time.

"It's a little chilly in here, but it's warm in our hearts," Mr Romney told a sparse group of supporters at a steel manufacturing company in Toledo, Ohio. He was perhaps referring to his improved state of mind after his wins in Michigan and, more convincingly, Arizona on Tuesday night – as much as his affection for the people of Ohio.

Although he eluded calamity in Michigan by finishing three points ahead of his socially conservative rival Rick Santorum, the pressure is by no means off Mr Romney, who knows that big wins in the past, for example in Florida and Nevada, did not give him the boost he had expected.

But big questions hover over Mr Santorum, who watched an early lead in Michigan slip away as he made a series of mistakes – including his observation that Barack Obama was a "snob" for wanting a college education for all, and his excoriation of John F Kennedy for advocating the separation of church and state, which alienated Catholic voters.

It will be a day or two before we will see how the polls in Super Tuesday states are affected by Tuesday's results. Will these have dimmed the lights for what has always been a somewhat quixotic bid by Mr Santorum for the Republican nomination? Or, as has happened in the past, will suspicions among conservatives about Mr Romney prevent his campaign from catching fire?

The exit polling in Michigan again showed a party deeply divided. Mr Romney outpaced his main opponent by four to one among voters who said they wanted a candidate with the ability to defeat Mr Obama in November. Mr Santorum had roughly the same edge among those who wanted a "true conservative" with strong moral character to win.

After pouring resources into Michigan, Mr Romney will now be forced to do the same ahead of Super Tuesday and the majority will go to Ohio, a crown jewel state with a large trove of delegates for the nomination. It is a bell-weather also for the national election; no Republican has won the White House without first winning Ohio.

He may lose as many as four of the 10 Super Tuesday states. Newt Gingrich is staking his all on taking his home state of Georgia to stay in contention and Mr Santorum is polling well in Tennessee and Oklahoma. And in Ohio things are looking dicey. A new Cincinnati University poll there gives Mr Santorum an impressive 11-point lead.

Mr Romney signalled yesterday that he intends to focus exclusively on economic issues in the state, unveiling a sort of Super-Tuesday mantra: "More jobs! Less Debt! Smaller government!" We can expect Mr Santorum, who campaigned last night in Tennessee, similarly to avoid further detours into social issues and stay on the economy.

Even if Mr Romney can, at last, get his campaign running on all cylinders, he is dealing with three rivals who seem determined to keep competing all the way to the national convention, making it hard for him to assemble the 1,144 delegates needed to claim the nomination. Even his Michigan win was tempered by a system that means he may have to share delegates from there with Mr Santorum.

Primaries in figures

52% Of those with a college degree voted for Romney in Arizona, compared with 25 per cent for Santorum.

3.5% Percentage more votes Romney gained in Michigan than Santorum.

43% Of Tea Party supporters in Arizona voted for Romney, while 31 per cent voted for Santorum.

Suggested Topics
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam