Mitt Romney’s win tonight doesn’t say much about what will happen in the rest of the South. North Florida went for Gingrich and is more in line with places like Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. This isn’t just a theory, either. South Carolina already voted for Gingrich over Romney in decisive fashion. The Peach State and its Southern neighbors should prove to be fertile territory in the same way that Romney benefited from New Hampshire’s proximity to Massachusetts. After all, Gingrich calls Georgia home.
South and Central Florida – where Romney did best – are full of transplants from the Northeast. These are the same type of voters that catapulted Romney to the governor’s mansion in Massachusetts. I would expect Gingrich to sweep the South and do well in blue-collar places like Ohio where Romney will come off as an out-of-touch elite.
When Gingrich says that he will go all the way to the convention he means it, especially if Santorum drops out of the race. If you consolidate the anti-Romney vote in a state less hospitable to Romney than Florida then Gingrich has a decent shot at winning quite a few primaries. Romney might have won tonight, but this race is far from over. Expect a conservative backlash against Romney in the primaries to come – especially in the South.