Just across the state line, the Michigan Republican presidential primary took center stage as candidates battled for the state’s delegates Tuesday. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum emerged as the leading candidates in a tight Tuesday primary, in which Romney edged out Santorum with 41.1 percent of the reported votes to Santorum’s 37.9 percent, according to an Associated Press poll. Sean Savage, professor of political science at Saint Mary’s, said Romney and Santorum’s battle for the lead was a close call. “At the end of last week, according to a composite of different polls, Santorum was ahead by 0.08 percent,” Savage said. “It was that close.” Savage said the economy and the candidates’ electability against President Barack Obama significantly influenced voters’ opinions. “Certainly the economy was a major issue with the impact it has had on Detroit and the auto industry,” Savage said. “According to exit polls, voters wanted someone who had business and administrative experience [in the private sector], but people also voted for who they thought would be able to beat President Obama, and that was Romney.” Santorum, however, maintained a solid base of loyal conservatives supporters, Savage said. “According to polls from the primary, Santorum had the most support from labor union members, blue-collar workers, evangelicals, voters who saw abortion as the biggest issue and the more loyal conservatives,” Savage said. Savage said Romney’s level of education and affluence appealed to voters. Despite the close nature of the race, Savage said a few intangible factors contributed to Romney’s victory, including his personal connection to the state of Michigan. “Romney grew up in Michigan, and his father [George Romney] had been governor,” Savage said. “And even though Romney lost overall to McCain in the 2008 [primary] election, he won Michigan.” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder endorsed Romney, who led a more organized campaign in Michigan than Santorum, Savage said. “Santorum would hold rallies and there would be people cheering, but then there was no follow-up with his supporters,” Savage said. “There was no organized way of collecting names, emails and numbers to continue to encourage their support, but Romney’s campaign did not have such organizational problems.” While Romney’s close win in Michigan is influential, Savage said it will not determine who wins the GOP nomination, especially because the candidates still face a long road until the Republican National Convention in August. “Michigan was a close race and a good win for Romney,” Savage said. “However, Romney only has 14 percent of the necessary delegates for the nomination, so there is still a long road ahead.”
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McClaren said: “Southampton had a good season last season and they got into Europe but I think that will hinder them as the season goes on. “But does it at the beginning? I don’t think so, because they have started their competitive games earlier and they have got into that rhythm.” McClaren knows enough about his opposite number Koeman from his time in Holland not to under-estimate the threat posed by Saints despite their loss of key players Nathaniel Clyne and Morgan Schneiderlin. Southampton recovered impressively from a wholesale exodus of first-team players at the start of last season. And McClaren added: “Of course they can do it again – they have lost a few players this summer but they have brought some more in. “He (Koeman) always builds good teams. He came to Southampton when they were losing key players and everyone was thinking it was all going to crumble, and he came in and adapted quickly. “I think they were the surprise team of last year, not so much in where they finished but in the way they played the game, so there is no doubt we have got a tough start.” McClaren must decide whether to risk new boys Aleksandar Mitrovic and Chancel Mbemba who are short on match-fitness, while captain Fabricio Coloccini is struggling to recover from an Achilles knock. The Magpies boss has acknowledged Ronald Koeman’s men will travel north well-prepared for the season opener after easing past Dutch side Vitesse in their latest qualifying round on Thursday. But McClaren is less convinced by the long-term implications of such a busy early-season schedule once the full effects of the Premier League campaign kick in. Steve McClaren has warned Southampton that success in the Europa League could come back to haunt them ahead of the Saints’ trip to face Newcastle at St James’ Park on Sunday. Press Association