Wisconsin put Romney in position to secure GOP nomination

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MILWAUKEE -- The presidential campaign spotlight has moved away from Wisconsin. But the impact of the vote in the Dairy State Tuesday, April 3rd, may be felt for a long time to come. In fact, many observers say Wisconsin put Mitt Romney in prime position to get the Republican nomination.

Romney's victory in the Wisconsin primary is summed up in the totals 44 to 37 percent. But inside the numbers -- what were voters really saying? One thing seems certain: the economy trumps social issues.

Four in ten Wisconsin voters called themselves moderate or liberal. Three in ten said they were very conservative.

Despite the fact that Romney was trailing in the polls in March, he was able to get three of the state's prominent conservatives, Jim Sensenbrenner, Paul Ryan and Ron Johnson, to support him.

UW-Milwaukee Governmental Affairs Professor Mordecai Lee analyzed the election map further. He said, "The Republican party is in a sense two parties. It's a rural, socially conservative party and it's a suburban higher than average income party, and that's why Wisconsin epitomizes the nomination that's been going on for president."

Rick Santorum won most of the northern and western counties in Wisconsin while Romney took the more populous southeastern counties. Romney won in Milwaukee, Racine and in Waukesha. That's an indication he's connecting with educated, wealthy Republicans.

However, Romney is struggling with rural voters. In the northern part of the state, Santorum won Douglass County. In the west, La Crosse County. And in the center of the state, Clark County, Santorum won 47 to 30 percent.

But according to political adviser Chris Haworth, if Santorum can only win on small towns, he has only a small chance.

The next big primary is in Pennsylvania. That's Santorum's home state.