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Virginia primary results: Mitt Romney wins

Mitt Romney has won the GOP primary in the state of Virginia. As The Fix teamexplained:

Mitt Romney won the Virginia primary, beating Ron Paul in a one-on-one matchup.

Because of some of the toughest candidate-filing requirements in the country, only those two candidates qualified for the ballot. Neither invested much in the state, with Romney’s victory being a foregone conclusion. But Paul won 40.5 percent of the vote, his strongest percentage showing since he joined the race.

Romney’s victory is big when it comes to the delegate count. Virginia awards its delegates on a winner-take-all basis to whoever captures a majority of the vote statewide and in each congressional district. It appeared late Tuesday that Romney would take all but one district, securing 43 of the 46 delegates available. The state’s three other delegates are its Republican National Committee members, who can vote for any candidate.

Polling analysis fromBehind the Numbers:

Mitt Romney won by a wide margin in Virginia in a low turnout contest with just one opponent, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.).

According to exit polls reported by MSNBC, some turnout patterns indicate notable changes from the 2008 Republican primary, with votes among key groups keeping Paul in the game.

Partisanship played a big factor. Nearly a third of voters identified as independents, up 11 points from four years ago. Those voters picked Paul by nearly a 2 to 1 margin, 64 to 36 percent. Romney dominated among Republicans however, winning by 72 to 28 percent.

Romney and Paul split the moderate and liberal vote, 50 percent each. Romney won by a wide 64 to 36 percent margin among voters who identified as conservative, a group that accounted for two-thirds of the electorate.

Analysis from The Fix: The Commonwealth would rank far higher up on the Line if all four of the remaining candidates were on the ballot here. But, due to a very high bar to qualify, the only two choices for Virginia Republicans on Tuesday will be Mitt Romney and Ron Paul. Romney should win easily but that doesn’t tell us as much at it might have about his appeal in a state that could be the swingiest of all in the general election.

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