Romney has edge in cliffhanger primary

Republican+presidential+candidate+Mitt+Romney+speaks+to+supporters+during+a+campaign+stop+at+Brookwood+High+School+in+Snellville%2C+Georgia%2C+Sunday%2C+March+4%2C+2012.+Photo+courtesy+of+MCT+Campus.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at Brookwood High School in Snellville, Georgia, Sunday, March 4, 2012. Photo courtesy of MCT Campus.

AP

CINCINNATI (AP) — Mitt Romney has outdueled Rick Santorum in Ohio, claiming the hotly contested, pivotal Super Tuesday state.

Romney did best in Ohio metropolitan areas, as well as among voters worried about the economy and making sure the GOP nominated the best candidate to defeat President Barack Obama.

At the time of press, the former Massachusetts governor had nearly 38 percent of the vote with 97 percent of precincts reporting unofficial returns. Santorum was sixth-tenths of a percentage point behind at 37.2 percent. Romney prevailed in another November swing state to bolster his front-runner status over the former Pennsylvania senator.

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich was third, at 15 percent, in the state that lies between Romney’s native Michigan and Santorum’s home state. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who largely bypassed Ohio, was running fourth at 9 percent.

John Green, director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron, said he isn’t surprised by the result of the primary.

“Romney has won the most primaries and caucuses, and he leads in the number of delegates for the national convention,” he said. “He was the best funded and organized of the candidates, and that advantage has helped him in many states. His platform has broad appeal to moderates, but many conservatives have preferred other more conservative candidates. Romney has a good chance against Obama in the fall.”

When it comes down to the election in November, Vernon Sykes, assistant professor of political science, said it would be tough for Romney to win over Obama.

“The U.S. is starting to show an increase in the economy, which means that much of the economic policy in his administration has been promoting and is starting to work,” Sykes said. “That’s the single most important variable that everyone is concerned about. It continues to be an important factor. If the economy continues to go up, I believe Obama should do well in the November elections.”

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