I’ll have further analysis of this when I’m finally done with my massive general election in review, of which I’m about 20% finished.
But I’m going to start you off with the conclusion:
Within Republican Presidential primaries that are competitive, white Southerners, and by “Southerner,” I mean both Deep, Mid and Outer South, are excellent proxies for how working middle class whites outside the South will vote in November.
If anyone was paying attention, we should have realized that Romney’s inability to win as much as one really Southern primary or caucus while the race was competitive was a warning sign about how he wouldn’t have been able to run up the necessary margins among working middle class whites in Great Lakes states to win them in November. And don’t say Florida, because Gingrich, then the not-Romney flavor of the day, won the stereotypically Dixie counties north of Orlando. And don’t say Virginia, because Romney shills aced everyone else but Ron Paul off the ballot.
During the primary and caucus season, Romney was good at winning red voters in blue areas, but was a dud in trying to win red voters in red areas. The problem is, come November, red voters in blue areas are drowned out by blue voters in blue areas, who don’t vote in Republican primaries. So what Romney eked out a victory over Gingrich in Florida based on Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, or eked out wins over Santorum in Ohio and Michigan based on metro Cleveland or metro Detroit? South Florida, metro Cleveland and metro Detroit have a lot of faithful Democrats (usual demos: Black, Hispanic, Jewish, Muslim) that come out in force in November.