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Land Baron: Santorum Winning Nearly 60 Percent of Counties in GOP Contests

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Buoyed by support in rural areas, Rick Santorum has won 215 more counties than Mitt Romney and 58 percent overall after the first 11 contests

ricksantorum02.jpgMitt Romney has won more contests than Rick Santorum, has received 740,000+ more votes, and has amassed approximately twice as many delegates in the early stages of the 2012 Republican primary season.

There is, however, one metric on Romney's electoral scorecard in which he is losing quite badly to his chief challenger - a metric which perhaps symbolizes his inability thus far to unite Republican voters behind his campaign.

A Smart Politics tabulation of voting through the first 11 Republican primaries and caucuses of the 2012 presidential cycle finds that Rick Santorum has won more than twice as many counties (360) as Mitt Romney (145) and nearly 60 percent of all counties to date.

Five candidates have carried counties in the contests thus far, with Newt Gingrich in third with 79 (all but two from South Carolina and Florida), Ron Paul with 31, and Rick Perry with two.

Santorum has won 58.3 percent of the 617 counties in these 11 states, with Romney claiming 23.5 percent, Gingrich 12.8 percent, and Paul 5.0 percent.

The Santorum/Romney county map conjures up the once popularized image of the 2000 presidential election, in which the United States looked like a sea of red with George W. Bush carrying more than three times as many counties and four times as many square miles nationwide as Al Gore, despite Gore winning the popular vote.

What this means today in the 2012 primary race is that Santorum is dominating Romney and the rest of the field in more sparsely-populated rural areas.

County lines (unlike congressional district lines, in some states) are, of course, fairly meaningless designations when it comes to counting votes on Election Day, but it does provide yet another glimpse into Romney's inability thus far to win over rural Republican voters (and more steadfast conservatives) in many states - including states he is winning.

Santorum's advantage over Romney by this metric is so large, that even if one eliminates all the counties the former Pennsylvania Senator won in Missouri (114) and Minnesota (82.5), he would still have carried nearly 20 more counties than Governor Romney.

No candidate has won counties across all 11 contests:

· Santorum has carried counties in six states: 64.5 in Iowa, 82.5 in Minnesota, 45 in Colorado, 114 in Missouri, one in Maine, and 53 in Michigan. Santorum won a majority of the counties in all these states, with the exception of Maine. (Note: Santorum was involved in ties in Iowa (with Paul), Minnesota (with Paul), and Colorado (with Romney twice)).

· Romney, meanwhile, has won counties in all but two states - Minnesota and Missouri - recording 16 in his column in Iowa, nine in New Hampshire, three in South Carolina, 33 in Florida, 13 in Nevada, 18 in Colorado, eight in Maine, 30 in Michigan, and 15 in Arizona.

· Gingrich has tallied 43 counties in his victory in South Carolina, 34 in Florida, and one each in Nevada and Colorado.

· Ron Paul was victorious in 16.5 counties in Iowa, one in New Hampshire, two in Nevada, 4.5 in Minnesota, and seven in Maine.

· Rick Perry carried two counties in southwestern Iowa back in early January.

Number of Counties Carried by Republican Presidential Candidates in Primaries and Caucuses (Through February 28th)

State
Santorum
Romney
Gingrich
Paul
Perry
Total
Iowa*
64.5
16
0
16.5
2
99
New Hampshire
0
9
0
1
0
10
South Carolina
0
3
43
0
---
46
Florida
0
33
34
0
---
67
Nevada
0
13
1
2
---
16
Minnesota**
82.5
0
0
4.5
---
87
Colorado***
45
18
1
0
---
64
Missouri
114
0
---
0
---
114
Maine
1
8
0
7
---
16
Michigan
53
30
0
0
---
83
Arizona
0
15
0
0
---
15
Total
360
145
79
31
2
617
Percent
58.3
23.5
12.8
5.0
0.3
 
* Santorum and Paul tied in Louisa County, Iowa. ** Santorum and Paul tied in Lincoln County, Minnesota. Santorum and Romney tied in Lake County and San Juan County, Colorado. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

Despite his six wins, Romney has won the most counties in just four contests - New Hampshire, Nevada, Maine, and Arizona - taking a back seat to Gingrich on this metric in Florida (34 to 33) and Santorum in Michigan (53 to 30).

While delegate counts remain fluid (and vary wildly in media reports) given the fact that half of the contests awarding delegates to date have been caucuses, one firm number in Romney's favor is the raw number of votes cast.

The former Massachusetts governor has racked up a substantially larger number of votes than Santorum and the rest of the GOP field.

Through the first 11 contests, Romney has received 1,811,463 votes compared to just 1,070,154 for Santorum.

Newt Gingrich has received 977,942 votes followed by Ron Paul with 493,145.

Votes Received by Leading Republican Presidential Candidates by State (Through February 28th)

State
Romney
Santorum
Gingrich
Paul
Iowa
29,805
29,839
16,163
26,036
New Hampshire
97,591
23,432
23,421
56,872
South Carolina
168,123
102,475
244,065
78,360
Florida
776,159
223,249
534,121
117,461
Nevada
16,486
3,277
6,956
6,175
Minnesota
8,240
21,988
5,263
13,282
Colorado
23,012
26,614
8,445
7,759
Missouri
63,852
138,988
0
30,645
Maine
2,259
1,051
391
2,024
Michigan
409,131
377,153
65,007
115,778
Arizona
216,805
122,088
74,110
38,753
Total
1,811,463
1,070,154
977,942
493,145
Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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