From Dave Weigel's newest piece:
Could the GOP nominate Mitt Romney if he loses the South and Gingrich wins it?
“It won’t happen,” says Gingrich. “He’ll either figure out how to win here, or he won’t be the nominee.”
In case you were wondering, John McCain won Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Virgina in the 2008 primary, so he did quite a bit better than Mitt.
An obvious point of dispute from Team Romney would be that Florida is a southern state, but as we all know, only the pandhandle is anything close to a deeply southern region, demographically and ideologically.
Well, by my count, there are about 33 counties in the Florida panhandle, and Gingrich won 27 of those 33 panhandle counties. Romney only won 6.
So yes, Romney hasn't shown any southern strength whatsoever, but none of that would matter in November. The GOP has a lock on traditional southern states, regardless of nominee.