by Patrick Appel
Santorum has been declared the winner in Missouri and Minnesota. In Minnesota, Romney is currently trailing Santorum by almost 30 points and Ron Paul (!) is ahead of Romney by 10. Santorum is also ahead in Colorado, but very few votes have come in thus far. Josh Marshall finds no silver lining for Mitt:
Absent crushing spending and a week or so to focus on a single state, Romney seems to have a really rough time. That’s bad, especially in the Midwest where a Republican candidate has to run strong. And especially when he’s faltering in national polls versus President Obama.
Nate Silver, who is live-blogging the results, believes that Romney could still prevail in Colorado. He wonders whether Santorum's strong showing can propel him past Gingrich nationally:
If Mr. Romney is having a poor night, Newt Gingrich is having an even worse one – he was not even on the ballot in Missouri and he is running in dead last in Minnesota. Most polls of Republican voters have shown Mr. Santorum with stronger favorability ratings than Mr. Gingrich. Mr. Gingrich was doing slightly better in national polls, and in most of the recent states. But this may have been because voters thought that Mr. Gingrich was more viable than Mr. Santorum, even if they liked Mr. Santorum better.
John Hinderaker uses low turnout to diminish Santorum's victories:
So tomorrow’s news reports will say it was a big win for Rick Santorum. The numbers, however, are so low as to be laughable: if the vote-per-precinct ratio holds up, a total of 65,000 people will have participated in the GOP caucuses [in Minnesota]. This compares with 1,275,409 Minnesotans who voted for John McCain in 2008, so something like 5% of Minnesota’s Republican voters participated tonight. That is hardly enough to give Santorum a ringing mandate, but, on the other hand, that’s how democracy works. You have to show up.