The Republican presidential race has become a frustrating process for supporters of all candidates involved. Mitt Romney is winning, but slowly and painfully, without decisively crushing his opponents’ hopes to deny him the nomination. He’s ahead by a substantial margin, but still far from the 1,144 needed to clinch on the first ballot. He’s won most of the big contests, but everytime he seems to have the nomination in the bag, Rick Santorum wins another state.
Large numbers of Republicans remain resistant to Romney. They continue to support the other candidates, mainly Santorum at this point. Santorum does just well enough to give them (likely false) hope that Romney can be beaten, but doesn’t do well enough to actually overtake him in the delegate count or popular vote. Santorum voters are further irritated by their sense that they could win if Newt Gingrich would drop out and give them a clean shot at Romney.
Meanwhile, the Romney supporters feel as if their candidate’s success isn’t being recognized by either the party faithful or the mainstream media. Supporters of Gingrich and Ron Paul feel that their choice is being devalued. These kinds of things happen in a primary contest, but are especially likely in one that remains so unsettled. All in all, a bit of a mess.