Mitt Romney wins in Obama’s birthplace

Mitt Romney wins in Obama’s birthplace

Mitt Romney wins in Obama’s birthplace

Hawaii Republicans give Mitt Romney a big victory in their caucus, softening the blow from his twin losses earlier against Santorum in Alabama and Mississippi. AP photo

Mitt Romney scored a consolation win in the Republican caucus in Hawaii, President Barak Obama’s birthplace, hours after going down to a double defeat in Alabama and Mississippi, results showed.

With 82 percent of precincts reporting on the Pacific island state, Romney had 45 percent of the votes ahead of March 13’s big winner Rick Santorum on 25 percent. Texas Representative Ron Paul was on 18 percent, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich trailing in fourth spot on 11 percent. “Because the state is President Obama’s birthplace, winning Republican support here is kind of a moral victory,” State Republican Party chair David Chang said before the results were announced.

Earlier the former Massachusetts governor also won in American Samoa, taking nine delegates in a winner-takes-all on the tiny Pacific territory. Romney is already ahead in the all-important delegate count, having about 40 percent of the 1,144 needed at the Republican convention in August, with Santorum in second place and Gingrich and Paul trailing well behind.

 Romney finished a disappointing third behind Santorum and Gingrich in the Deep South primaries. Santorum’s sweep of Alabama and Mississippi has failed to seal the deal and convince U.S. voters that he is the strongest candidate to face Democrat Obama. 

Obama’s approval rate up to 50 percent

Meanwhile, for the first time since early July, more Americans approve of the job Obama is doing than disapprove, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll that shows his approval rating now at 50 percent. The poll indicates that Obama’s rating has risen by 2 percentage points during the past month. The percentage of Americans who disapprove of the Democratic president was 48 percent, down from 49 percent in February.

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