Mitt Romney is feeling so good about the 10 states voting today that he and his wife are flying home to Boston. Romney is expected to win in the East (Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts), Ron Paul hopes to win the West (Idaho, North Dakota, Alaska), Rick Santorum has been working to win the Midwest (Ohio) and split the South with Newt Gingrich. Polls are close in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Romney has passed Santorum in national polls, and he's even with Santorum in his level of positive intensity, Gallup's measure of the percentage of people who really, really like the candidate minus those who really, really don't. But Tuesday night, many will be focused on whether Romney has won over a large number of working-class whites and evangelicals, an important part of the Republican base. If Santorum doesn't do well, his second comeback might be over -- at some point, the insurgent eventually has to turn into the frontrunner in order to win.
We'll be liveblogging the returns starting about 6:30p.m. Join us in the comments!
12:42a.m.: Romney wins six states, Santorum wins three, Gingrich wins one. Paul won no states. (Alaska's returns haven't come in yet.) But the delegate total won't be so close -- Santorum won't get delegates in Georgia, and won't get many in Ohio because he didn't file all the paperwork. Romney will get all of Idaho's delegates.
12:33a.m.: Fox News calls Ohio for Romney, 38 percent to Santorum's 37 percent.Romney is leading in two of the three counties the networks are waiting on to call Ohio. His lead is now 12,000 votes.
12:26a.m.: Okay, we mostly know who won what, but who won the "news cycle," whatever that is?
Salon's Joan Walsh: Not Romney. "Super Tuesday was arguably Romney’s worst night yet… Super Tuesday represented a late chance for Romney to restore his supposed invincibility – and he failed."
BuzzFeed's Zeke Miller: Romney-ish. "It was a Super Scare, but Mitt Romney eked out a victory in Ohio, continuing an election-night tradition of eking narrow victories when he needs them… On the raw mechanics of winning the primary, Mitt Romney dominated Super Tuesday, building strongly on his lead in the category that counts: delegates. And yet he won without the emotional satisfaction of a clean victory. He won ugly."
Politico's Alexander Burns: Romney brain-wise but not heart-wise. "If the current numbers hold in the Buckeye State, Romney may well deal a symbolic blow to his opponents by putting the key swing state in his column.Romney appears, however, to have missed his opportunity to put to rest doubts about his strength as a candidate and claim the status of presumptive 2012 nominee."
The Wall Street Journal's Neil King: Romney, maybe. "Score so far: Romney, 4 states; Santorum, 3; Gingrich, 1. If Mitt takes Alaska and Ohio, he's the winner. And he's the delegate king, anyway."
12:25a.m.: Fox reports Romney's lead over Santorum has widened to 12,000 votes.
12:18a.m.: Hats are happening at Fox News. It's time to call this thing.
12:05a.m.: Romney's lead is widening. Fox's graphic showing the votes tallied:
12:01a.m.: Alaska polls close. Sarah Palin says she voted for Gingrich ("the cheerful one") in the caucuses there.
11:45p.m.: Here's how close the actual vote tallies are in Ohio:
11:42p.m.: Santorum will probably fall just short of winning any delegates for his third-place finish in Georgia, The New York Times' Nate Silver writes.
11:24p.m.: With 90 percent of precincts in Ohio reporting, Romney just just a bit a head of Santorum. On Fox News, Karl Rove predicted Romney's margin would widen, as counties favorable to him are the last to come in.
11:02p.m.: Fox calls Idaho for Romney. By a whole lot -- 78 percent. Idaho is where Ron Paul held his election party. He was hoping to win the three caucus states in the West (Idaho, North Dakota, and Alaska) but so far he's 0 for 2. Alaska's his last hope.
10:53p.m.: Fox News analysts mock Gingrich's "Napoleon Dynamite" speech, captured by the Washington Examiner:
10:39p.m.: The networks haven't projected the winner of the Idaho caucuses, but with 15 percent of precincts reporting, Romney is way ahead with 78 percent of the vote.
10:33p.m: Santorum wins the North Dakota caucuses, ABC News projects.
10:22p.m.: Rick Santorum was unable to force himself to smile during his victory speech, despite having won at least two states. See photos here.
10:20p.m.: Gingrich-endorser Rick Perry says on Fox News, "it wasn't a super night for anyone." Womp, womp. "if you look at the candidates there's not anybody who brings everything,," like social issues, economic issues, etc. Nobody but you, Governor?
10:12p.m.: Sarah Palin, the Fox News pundit, says she thinks competition is good for Romney. Gingrich should get his ideas out there. And Romney can't excite people, she says.
9:54p.m.: Romney accidentally made a joke! A poop joke. He said he couldn't wait to get "Barack Obama out of the outhouse -- out of the White House!" The crowd loves it.
9:51p.m.: Romney gives his victory speech in Boston. (It's nice when a lot of states vote -- everyone gets a trophy somewhere!).
9:18p.m.: Santorum gives his victory speech, claims he was "pumping a little iron" in the war room, which is normally the gym of the high school he's speaking in. Santorum's mom is on stage. She looks nervous! But great at age 93.
Perhaps with his growing gender gap in mind, Santorum also mentions what a great politician his wife is. "More Karen, less Rick," he says people say.
9:05p.m.: As Gingrich gives a half-hour speech, Slate's Dave Weigel tweets that Romney has won 100 percent of the delegates awarded by Gingrich's new home state, Virginia.
We survived the national elites' efforts to kill us in the summer because of you.
With your help we survived the two most difficult months of a career that goes all the way back to August 1958. [Ed. note: Student council??]...
With your help, and the power of large solutions and big ideas… by December, according to Gallup I was the frontrunner by 15 points and according to Rasmussen I was the frontrunner by 20 points, because you believe in big ideas…
In Iowa, Wall Street decided that only a relentlessly negative campaign would work, and they did reduce my support from 31 percent…
But you said no…
The result was in South Carolina, we won a history victory.
And I'm pretty sure tonight we have a number of those South Carolinians here.
At that point the forces of Wall Street figured out they were in real trouble.
They said "We have to destroy Gingrich." One was even quoted in the New York Times saying we have to "eviscerate," which I thought was a pretty strong word in the Republican primary.
8:40p.m.: Callista Gingrich gives a long (for her) speech introducing her husband. Newt thinks he can get more women voters from Santorum?
8:35p.m.: Santorum wins Tennessee, NBC projects. Which means "Romney can't win the South," Chris Matthews says -- though few think most of the region will be up for grabs this election.
8:06p.m.: Fox projects Santorum wins Oklahoma.
8:00p.m.: NBC calls Massachusetts for Romney. Oklahoma is too close to call, though Santorum is in the lead. Tennessee and Ohio are too close to call.
7:47p.m.: Fox shows how close the returns are in Ohio.
7:45p.m.: Paul is speaking to his adoring supporters. On Fox News, Shep Smith tries to figure out what his deal is.
7:32p.m.: Romney won working women in Ohio with 45 percent. But! Santorum won married women. Santorum won everyone else with 39 percent. A few supporters are trickling into Santorum's speech area:
7:30p.m.: Polls have closed in Ohio; exit polls show Romney is ahead.
7:27p.m.: Fox News' Shep Smith almost declares Romney went "three for three tonight." Oops, two for three. But if Gingrich only wins one state, his homestate, does it really count?
7:23p.m.: Romney fans begin to file in to the victory speech area:
7:22p.m.: Ohio closes in a couple minutes. News can't be great if Santorum's campaign is already promising to go to the convention.
7:16p.m.: Romney wins Virginia, NBC says. Exit polls show Paul won those under 44, and those making less than $50,000 a year, barely, and unmarried men. Romney wins everything else.
7:15p.m.: It looks like both Paul and Santorum broke the 20 percent threshold to get delegates in Vermont, so Romney won't be able to take them all, The New York Times' Nate Silver points out.
7:10p.m.: You expect voters to convince themselves that the candidate they're backing has the best chance to beat President Obama. That's the majority view among supporters of each candidate. But! Romney had the smallest percentage of people who think he's the best one to beat Obama actually vote for him, 55 percent. By contrast, 93 percent of the people who thought Gingrich was the best one to beat Obama actually voted for Newt. From the CNN poll:
7:04p.m.: Looking at Georgia exit polls: Newt had a bit of a gender gap, getting 47 percent of men and 43 percent of women. Gingrich tied Ron Paul among young folks with 27 percent of the vote each.
Gingrich won all other ages, and he won all income groups except post-grads -- those are Romney's people. He won them with 40 percent to Gingrich's 32 percent. Gingrich won all income groups except those making over $200,000 a year -- again, those are Romney's people.
Gingrich is Catholic, but Romney won Catholic voters, 43 to 35 percent.
Santorum won a few groups in Georgia: those who think abortion should always be illegal, and those who think a strong moral character is the most important quality in a candidate.
7:00p.m.: Newt wins Georgia. "Georgia very much on our minds right now" -- Wolf Blitzer, poet. Romney likely wins Vermont, but it's "too early to call."
6:55p.m.: CNN shows Romney winning the plurality -- 44 percent -- of conservatives in Vermont. He and Santorum both got 39 percent of conservatives in Ohio. Wonder how moderates went in Ohio...
6:54p.m.: CNN shows Gingrich winning old folks by 2 to 1 in Georgia.
6:52p.m.: CNN's Candy Crowley tweets this photo of the site of Romney's speech tonight. All (potential) victory speech setups look sad before the fans arrive:
6:35p.m.: CNN is reporting Romney got 40 percent of Ohio Catholics, while Santorum got 31 percent.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.