Super Tuesday Seals Nothing: The Race Goes On

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As the dust settles from Super Tuesday, one thing is clear: the Republican primary race is far from resolved. As of midnight, Rick Santorum had won the states of Oklahoma, Tennessee and North Dakota; Newt Gingrich won Georgia; while Mitt Romney had taken Vermont, Massachusetts, Idaho and Virginia, despite a large protest vote for Ron Paul in the Old Dominion.

Update: At half past midnight, the Associated Press and TV networks declared Romney the winner by a narrow margin in Ohio, the biggest prize of the day.

The former Massachusetts governor clearly has the edge in the hunt for the GOP presidential nomination, but the race will undoubtedly go on.

According to the exit polls in Ohio, more than four in 10 voters said that while they liked their candidate, they still had reservations.

And indeed, with Santorum well positioned for victory in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries next week, things are not looking good for Romney.

The Super Tuesday races have shed light on just how deep the divide has become between Republicans living in the north and the south.

While Romney swept the states in the northeast and west, the conservative vote has dominated the Midwestern and southern races — splitting between Santorum and Gingrich.

This divisiveness has certainly been exacerbated by what has turned out to be a protracted and vicious GOP primary race.

In 2008, both Democratic primary contenders Obama and Clinton grew stronger as the race went on well into April — their messages becoming better, more crisp and articulate.

In contrast, the Republican candidates’ messages have simply become harsher and more negative.

Absent a compelling positive message to contrast with the politically popular rhetoric being offered by President Obama,  whoever the ultimate GOP nominee will be can expect to face an uphill battle in  the general election.

Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist, Fox News contributor, and author of several books including the forthcoming “Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What It Means for 2012 and Beyond” (Rowman and Littlefield). Follow Doug on Twitter @DouglasESchoen.