Romney holds wide lead in popular vote; Gingrich in second
Mitt Romney may be just barely ahead of Rick Santorum when it comes to the number of states he’s won in the Republican presidential nominating contest so far, but in terms of the popular vote, the former Massachusetts governor is leaps and bounds ahead of his Pennsylvania rival.
According to a tally maintained by RealClearPolitics, Romney leads in the popular vote with the support of 1,121,606 primary voters to date. (The tally doesn’t include votes cast in Missouri, which last week held a “beauty contest” won by Santorum.)
In second place with votes already cast is former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), whose strength is due in large part to his strong showing in South Carolina last month. Gingrich stands at 838,783 in the popular vote so far.
In third is Santorum with about half of Gingrich’s vote total (and about two-fifths of Romney’s), at 431,863 votes. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) places fourth with 307,941.
Of the eight states that have held contests so far (not including Missouri), Romney has won the popular vote in four: New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada and Maine (although the latter is open to debate, given the complications surrounding the state party’s tallying of the caucus results).
Santorum has won three states (Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado), and Gingrich has won one (South Carolina).
Even if you include the Missouri results, Santorum still trails Gingrich and Romney. Romney’s total including Missouri would be 1,185,432; the total for Gingrich (who was not on the Missouri ballot) remains 838,783; Santorum’s total would be 570,820; and Paul’s would be 338,582.
The upcoming Feb. 28 contests (particularly the Michigan primary) will be key not only in terms of the delegate race and the narrative of the campaign but also in terms of the popular vote. In the 2008 Michigan Republican primary, more than 868,000 votes were cast – more than in this year’s Iowa, New Hampshire, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine and Nevada contests combined.