By Tim Kiska
The nasty ads have stopped, for the moment. The votes have been counted. What follows is a look at the Michigan and Ohio primaries, by numbers:
31,976: Mitt Romney’s margin of victory over Rick Santorum in Michigan’s primary.
31,565: Romney’s margin of victory over Santorum in Oakland County. Without the vote in Romney’s native county, the Michigan primary would have been a virtual draw, with Romney wining by a paltry 411 votes.
6: The numbers of vote Rick Santorum needed to take the entire Upper Peninsula. He carried all but two counties there, losing Mackinac County to Romney by one vote and Schoolcraft County by four.
.8 percent: The percentage of Romney’s win over Santorum in Ohio, 37.9 percent for Romney, 37.1 percent for Santorum.
16,029: Romney win in Ohio’s Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland. The urban areas of Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Akron and Columbus are the only thing that separated Romney from electoral doom. Romney finally won the state by 10,188 votes.
An analysis of both states show some serious weaknesses for Romney.
Romney still hasn’t sealed the deal with solidly conservative voters in either state, particularly in rural areas. Maps of Ohio and Michigan look the same, with Romney grabbing the cities and Santorum taking the country. (Romney took counties in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula, but by tiny margins of a few hundred votes.)
Michigan’s most conservative counties went solidly for Santorum: Ottawa County (49-36) and Allegan (51-32) in the Holland area went big against Romney. Santorum also took Kent County, but by a narrower margin (42-40.)
Would things have been different for Santorum and Romney in Michigan if Newt Gingrich wasn’t in the equation?
The New York Times’s Nate Silver says no. His analysis of Public Policy Polling data, in which the company surveyed voters about where they would go without Ginrich, still shows a narrow Romney win, 43-42.
But without Gingrich on the ground in Ohio, it would have been a Santorum victory – and a different ballgame.