So, Santorum wins both Alabama and Mississippi and Romney wins Hawaii. In Alabama and Mississippi, the delegate awards are not winner take all, but Santorum's ability to capitalize on the result is muted. But, Gingrich who needs a Southern strategy to prevail, has now failed to win Alabama, Mississippi, Florida and Tennessee. He is simply serving as a spoiler for Santorum who would otherwise be winning contests all over by large margins with a consolidated conservative vote.
A lot of the media narrative has been about campaign spending in this race. But, the 2012 Republican primary race is really more of a classic case of the way having multiple candidates in the same policy space who split of the votes of potential supporters can produce screwy outcomes.
On the other hand, it isn't too impressive, from a Republican point of view, that even with the conservative vote split, that Romney can't muster enough to support to win any state other than Florida in the South after a long string of contests there. Most of the Republican base really doesn't like Romney very much and the possibility of a Romney loss in a brokered convention is increasingly looking like something that is within the realm of possibility. While it would be difficult or impossible for Santorum or Gingrich or Paul to win a majority of the delegates going to Tampa, it isn't unthinkable at this point that they could collectively deny him a majority and that their delegates might prefer someone other than Romney.
While the long, pitched primary fight between Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008 ultimately strengthened Obama's general election prospects, Romney seems to be seeing his general election prospects diminished as a result of his primary battle.
As a footnote, it is interesting that both Democrats and Republicans award delegates who have a say in the selection of their Presidential nominees to residents of U.S. possessions like American Samoa and Puerto Rico, even though residents of those possessions don't have a vote in the general election for the U.S. President.