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Tennessee’s contest showed that former Senator Santorum still had it and that someone other than Speaker Gingrich can win in the south. With a 37% to 28% margin over Gov. Romney, Santorum pulled out a reassuring win for his campaign and picked up 29 delegates in the process. As was the case in the other southern primaries, a small portion of the Republican primary electorate identified as independent (37%), with a plurality of 38% going to Senator Santorum. The independents in this primary were sharply divided among Romney (25%), Gingrich (19%), and Paul (16%) all taking home a share. Unlike other states, the Tennessee independents did not appear to coalesce around a single candidate. This was also the case among registered Republicans, who made up 68% of the electorate in the Republican primary, but were divided among Santorum (38%), Romney (29%), and Gingrich (27%). Although a conservative stronghold, Tennessee surprised many by not giving an even more significant victory to Senator Santorum over Governor Romney. The division among the conservative wing of the party was still intact and the race continued to plod on with Gov. Romney’s lead continuing to increase.

CBS News Exit Poll

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