Will Alabama and Mississippi clear the field? I asked in a recent blogpost. The results are in and the answer is: To the contrary. These were close three-way races. But Rick Santorum’s wins in both Alabama and Mississippi ensure that he will stay in the race. His low-key election night speech, delivered in Lafayette, Louisiana, a locus of the state’s offshore oil drilling industry, claimed victory for his “grass roots” campaign over “the establishment” which was on the other side. He called on “conservatives to hold together,” in an obvious attempt to get Newt Gingrich to withdraw. But Gingrich, in his election night speech delivered in Birmingham, Alabama, made it clear he was continuing. He dismissed Mitt Romney as a front-runner that keeps running third and his campaign, in a memo released before the polls closed insisted that the race is far from over; but not very convincingly. As for Romney, he had hoped to win these two close three-way races; instead he finished a pretty close third in both.
My Sunday Examiner column focused on Romney’s appeal to affluent voters. This was the case as well in Alabama and Mississippi, but the differences between income groups were less stark than I had expected, as shown in the exit polls for the two states. The top line in the following tables represents the results at this counting with 92% of precincts in Alabama and 96% in Mississippi.
% Sant % Ging % Romn % Sant % Ging % Romn
Primary results 35 29 29 33 31 30
<$50,000 36 30 26 33 33 27
$50,000-$100,000 37 29 28 36 30 30
>$100,000 31 25 36 31 28 34
You can see that high-income voters are more pro-Romney, but the fact is that all three candidates won significant percentages among all three income groups in both states.
Santorum and Gingrich in their election night speeches did not have the attitude of winners, while Mitt Romney, as least as this is written, has not appeared. What Romney has done this week is to win the lion’s share of delegates in the territories—Guam, Northern Marianas and Virgin Islands so far with American Samoa (whose population is 22% Mormon) and Puerto Rico still to come. The delegate counts so far are as follows, with 9 delegates in American Samoa and 20 in Hawaii still to be determined: