I would like to be able to say that Romney’s victory was something other than impressive, but he has simply cleaned up in virtually every demographic. He won among Republicans by double digits, reinforcing the old conventional wisdom that McCain is simply not very popular with most Republicans, but he also did reasonably well with independents. Whether you divide the electorate by region, religion, age, education, Romney wins (except apparently among less observant Catholics). According to exit polls, he even defeated Huckabee among evangelicals. That’s a significant part of his success, since evangelicals made up about 40% of the electorate. But this isn’t just Romney making inroads with evangelicals–he expanded beyond his natural constituencies of the well-educated, upper-income and more secular-minded voters.
Once again, as in New Hampshire, a plurality of antiwar voters has opted for McCain. Basically, the angrier you are at Bush and the more disapproving you are of the war, the more likely you were to cast a vote for McCain. On the superficial level of “McCain was Bush’s rival eight years ago,” I suppose I understand why this is happening, but I can’t say that I really comprehend the thought process that leads to the decision to vote for the man. At least Giuliani suffered an embarrassing showing of about 3%, staying just ahead of Uncommitted.
Huckabee did all right with his core voters, and won among the quarter of the electorate that places great importance on religious beliefs (naturally), but for all the talk of his alleged populism his message didn’t register particularly well with those who see the national economy as either “not good” or “poor.” Curiously, Paul overperforms among those who view the economy as “poor.” All that talk about the inflation tax must be interesting to someone.
Update: Looking at the results county by county, Ron Paul has a very large level of support in Hillsdale County (17%)–Ron Paul must be a big hit with Hillsdale College students.