Romney's In for a Long, Messy Fight
Nate Silver on Mitt's horrific night in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri
By Kevin Spak,  Newser User
Posted Feb 8, 2012 12:01 PM CST
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at his Colorado caucus night rally in Denver, Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(Newser) – Even after last night, Mitt Romney will probably win the Republican nomination, but "it should be acknowledged that he had about the worst results conceivable," writes Nate Silver of the New York Times. He didn't win a single county in Minnesota, finishing 27 points behind Rick Santorum. He lost Colorado, where InTrade had rated his chances at 97%. And the victor in each contest was Rick Santorum—"who is probably much more dangerous" to Romney than Newt Gingrich.

Romney is now 0-for-3 in the Midwest, has tepid support from the base, and has inspired low turnout. "These are not the hallmarks of a race with a dominant candidate." This race looks most like the 1984 Democratic and 1976 Republican primaries, in which the favorites (Walter Mondale and Gerald Ford) won only after prolonged 50-state wars. Silver still thinks Romney will win, but it's going to be rough. He "is not a strong enough candidate that he can afford more nights as bad as Tuesday."