There were early signs that Mitt Romney would lose the Minnesota and Missouri primaries last night, but I don’t think anyone would have predicted he wouldn’t win a single county in either state.
You can view the Minnesota results here.
You can view the Missouri results here.
As ThinkProgress points out, the reason for this epic fail by Team Romney is an abysmal drop in voter support for Mitt Romney between 2008 and 2012.
Abysmal may not even be a strong enough word. The drop in support is simply staggering.
Romney won Colorado with 60 percent of the vote four years ago, and its demographics favored the candidate, but this year, Romney won just 34.9 percent of the vote, coming 6 points shy of Santorum. In Minnesota, which Romney won with 41 percent of the vote in 2008, he won just 16.9 percent last night — coming in third behind Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). And in Missouri, Romney was down slightly, from 29 percent in 2008 to 25.3 percent last night. [...]
In some places, Romney’s collapse was even more stunning. As the New York Times’ Nate Silver noted, “Romney’s stronger areas in [Colorado] were associated with turnout declines of about 20 percent. But turnout was steady or slightly up in places where Rick Santorum did well.” For instance, in Pueblo County, where turnout was actually up, Romney took just 27 percent of the vote — a huge drop from the 62 percent he won in 2008. And in the Denver suburbs, which Romney won, he was still way down from 2008. In Douglas County, Romney went from 72 percent in 2008 to 46 percent; in Arapaho County, he went from 66 percent to 45 percent; and in Jeffferson County, he went from 65 percent to 39 percent.
Like Bob, I still believe Romney is going to be the Republican nominee for president regardless, but I’m also beginning to think he’s going to be a weaker nominee than any of us had anticipated.
It’s probable that conservative voter enthusiasm and general support for Romney will harden after he becomes the nominee and President Obama is the one and only target, however the drop in support for Romney has been so staggering even a modest increase in solidarity won’t be enough to fill the chasm.
This should not be taken for granted or be seen as a justification for complacency. The 2012 election may be between Barack Obama and “Meh Romney,” but the stakes are far too high to sit comfortably.