Mitt Romney won Tuesday's presidential primary not only because he received more votes than Newt Gingrich and the other Republican candidates, but also because he got more votes than in the 2008 primary when he finished second to John McCain.
That may be self-evident, but a closer look at the numbers may reveal more about the depth and breadth of Romney's victory and what it may mean in an increasingly likely general election showdown with President Barack Obama, when Florida again will be a battleground state.
Statewide, Romney on Tuesday received 774,989 votes -- not only 105,000 more than what he received in 2008, but also about 74,000 more than what McCain received in the 2008 Florida primary. That's made more impressive by the fact that almost 280,000 more ballots were cast in 2008 than on Tuesday.
(Similarly, Romney in Manatee County on Tuesday received 18,589 votes, about 3,400 more than in 2008; and about 2,400 more than what McCain received in his first-place finish.)
The race may have been more competitive in 2008, when McCain finished with 36 percent statewide, compared to 31 percent for Romney, 14.7 percent for Rudy Giuliani and 13.5 percent of Mike Huckabee. On Tuesday, Gingrich finished a distant second, with about 32 percent, compared to Romney's 46 percent.
McCain all but clinched the nomination after his 2008 win in Florida, but he ended up losing Florida in the race against Obama.
Romney, too, may have wrapped up the nomination on Tuesday. And by the numbers, at least in Florida he may have emerged as a much stronger candidate.
To see Tuesday's statewide results, go here.
To see Tuesday's Manatee County results, go here.
To see the 2008 statewide results, go here.
To see the 2008 Manatee County results, go here.