Mitt Romney: City slicker
Mitt Romney is definitely not at home on the range.
Primaries in highly rural Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday reinforced what a problem Romney has with rural conservatives, who tend to be more conservative than their urban and suburban counterparts.
Here’s all you need to know:
Notice how Romney’s Alabama support is clustered almost exclusively around the three big cities on the map?
It’s something we’ve seen over and over again.
In Ohio, the counties Romney won were all clustered around the state’s three most urban areas — Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
In Tennessee, Romney struggled because he failed to win Memphis-based Shelby County, but he still carried the Nashville area.
Ditto South Carolina, where Romney’s defeat came largely because he didn’t rack up enough votes near Charleston and Columbia, and he lost Greenville in the northwest and Myrtle Beach in the northeastern corner of the state (the latter is not denoted on the map below).
A review of the GOP presidential contest so far shows Romney has won nine of the 10 most urban states that have voted so far.
Out of the 10 most rural states, Romney has only won in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont — all northeastern states where the former Massachusetts governor has a decided edge.
The good news for Romney is that some of the most urban states also provide the biggest delegate prizes. So even if he continues to struggle in rural America, the cities can deliver him the nomination.