It is Super Tuesday in the Republican presidential primary. This is the single biggest day in the primary with roughly 20 percent of the delegates at stake. People are voting in ten states today: Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia. You can find my primer for tonight here.
The primary states’ poll closing times (Eastern):
7:00 PM: Georgia, Vermont, Virginia
7:30 PM: Ohio
8:00 PM: Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Tennessee
6:58 pm – You can find an early look at the exit polling data here. Some potentially good news for Romney is that the electorate in Ohio is higher income than in 2008.
7:00 pm – Right as polls close Georgia is called for Newt Gingrich. That is not a big surprise, he had a huge lead in the polling.
7:03 pm – You can find the exit poll data for the states where polls have already closed at CNN.
7:08 pm – It is very surprising that the networks have not called Vermont and Virginia for Romney. The exit polling in both states show him with a large lead.
7:20 pm – CNN projects that Romney will win Virginia. It was only Romney and Paul that managed to qualify for the ballot there. The inability of Gingrich or Santorum to qualify will result in Romney netting a lot of delegates.
7:25 pm – The important of neither Santorum or Gingrich getting on the ballot in Virginia can’t be overstated. Romney is going to win a lot more states than any of his rivals, tonight created a solid narrative for him. If someone else instead won Virginia, today would probably be viewed as more of a mixed decision. This is a good example of how Romney’s huge money advantage has been important.
7:30 pm – Polls are now closed in Ohio. The exit polling shows Romney with a slight edge but exit polling is subject to change. Still things look good for the Romney campaign.
7:33 pm – According to the exit polls, Romney’s lead in Ohio is due to the fact that he has won big among college graduates. Santorum’s attack on Obama’s being pro-college as some weird snobby plot to turn kids liberal appears to have been a bad political move.
7:38 pm – Romney is now projected to win Vermont. That makes two wins for Romney tonight.
7:44 pm – Romney won the electability argument in Ohio in a very important way. Exit polling shows 43% of voters ranked being able to beat Obama as their top priority and Romney won this group by a huge margin.
7:58 pm – In Virginia with 58% reporting, it is Romney 59%, Paul 41%. While Romney will net a large number of delegates, only getting 59% with none of your main rivals on the ballot is not exactly a show of strength.
8:00 pm – Massachusetts has been called for Mitt Romney. The important thing is that it looks like Romney’s victory in Massachusetts may be large enough for him to get all the delegates from that state.
8:05 pm – Exit polling looks good for Santorum in both Tennessee and Oklahoma. Romney hasn’t done well in the South but the problem for Santorum and Gingrich is that they are splitting the Southern states.
8:16 pm – With 5 percent reporting in TN it is Santorum 42%, Romney 31%, Gingrich 18%, Paul 7%. The state is looking good for Santorum.
8:26 pm – The income split in both Tennessee and Ohio are very similar. In both Santorum is winning among those making less than $100,000 while Romney is winning among those making over $100,000.
8:35 pm – NBC has called Tennessee for Santorum.
8:40 pm – With 10 percent reporting in Ohio it is Romney 40%, Santorum 37%, Gingrich 14%, Paul 7%. There is a decent chance Romney could win 6-7 of the 10 states voting today.
8:45 pm – Newt Gingrich is speaking now. So far it is all about how the evil “elites” are out to get him.
8:47 pm – NBC has called Oklahoma for Santorum. That gives Santorum two wins tonight.
8:50 pm – Gingrich is now making his speech about how Wall Street is against him. A solid sign of how much occupy has changed the whole narrative in this country.
9:05 pm – The race in Ohio remains extremely tight. With 21% reporting it is Santorum 38%, Romney 37%, Gingrich 15%, Paul 8%.
9:16 pm – Rick Santorum is speaking now.
9:30 pm – I have started a new live blog thread. It will likely be a late night.