Mitt Romney will not win the threshold number of votes required to take all of Vermont's delegates, according to CNN's exit poll. Both Ron Paul and Rick Santorum were over the 20 percent mark required to receive delegates there.
If the results stand, Romney will carry about 8 to 10 delegates of the 17 that Vermont award, compared to 4 or 5 for Paul and 4 for Santorum.
This is the first time in many years that the outcome of the Vermont primary on Super Tuesday could actually impact the national presidential race. That's because according to the state's quirky voting system, if a candidate wins at least 50 percent of the vote, he'll win all the delegates. If no one receives a majority, then delegates will be allocated on a propotional basis.
Had Romney been able to secure 51 percent of the vote, he would have picked up 17 delegates over Rick Santorum. But, polling leading up to the primary revealed he would likely not achieve that threshold. Polling released by the Castleton Polling Institute at Castleton State College during the week leading up to the primary showed Romney has 34 percent support, compared to Santorum's 27 percent and Paul's 14 percent support.
Overall, Vermont voters favor President Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential race. Matched head-to-head against the Republican candidates, Obama leads Romney by 26 percentage points, Santorum by 28, Congressman Ron Paul by 30, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich by 42.
Vermont is known as one of the most liberal states in the U.S.
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