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After the disappointing debate that Rick Santorum had last night we will see if he demonstrates the resiliency that we’ve seen so far in this campaign.  Nationally Santorum still leads with a RCP average of 5.2 points.  The latest Gallup tracking poll gives him a lead of 7 points.  In Arizona, Mitt Romney has a RCP average lead of 8.2 points over Santorum.  Between all of the polls from 2/16 – 2/20 we’ve seen him have leads anywhere from 3 points to 16 points.  It will be a battle between Romney and Santorum there with Romney the favorite to win there.  However most thought that about Colorado where Romney led the polls until the one that actually matters came out.  Romney will probably win it, but I’m not going to write him off there.

In Michigan we see a neck and neck contest.  This should be a state that Romney wins easily, but Santorum holds a 0.6% RCP average lead so essentially a toss up.  Two polls have Romney ahead by two, two have Santorum ahead by 4 pts and 3 pts.  One poll has it tied.  All within the margin of error so it will be interesting to see how it turns out with Romney’s ads and Paul’s ads going after Santorum.  Two likely advantages for Santorum – Western Michigan is very conservative and two with Michigan being a manufacturing state Santorum’s manufacturing jobs plan will resonate there.  Also Susan B. Anthony List just dropped $150,000 on a statewide radio ad pushing Santorum’s prolife bona fides.

A bad night for either men won’t end their campaigns, but I think a Tuesday loss in Michigan would be incredibly embarrassing for Romney since it is his childhood home.  Santorum’s home state doesn’t seem like it will be a problem for him as he has a 29 point lead in the latest poll there.

Super Tuesday on March 6th has Santorum looking pretty good as well.  He holds a 16 point lead over Romney in Oklahoma.  He has a RCP average  7.3 point lead in Ohio over Romney, but the last poll done by Rasmussen shows an 18 point lead.  The liberal Republican states of Vermont and Massachusetts are owned by Romney.  If he didn’t win those two states I’d think hell had frozen over.  Newt Gingrich only leads in Georgia, but only ahead of Santorum by a RCP average of 5.6 points.

Looking further out Santorum enjoys significant leads in Wisconsin (4/3) and in Texas (likely 5/29).  So he has much to be happy about in those states.  All of this, however, could get turned upside down on Tuesday however and polling has yet to be released since the debate.

Next Tuesday will tell us how Santorum’s campaign is holding up in the spotlight.

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6 comments
  1. Although I didn’t actually see it, I heard that Santorum’s performance last night in the debate wasn’t bad at all, especially considering that Romney and Paul seemed to team up to give him a double whammy.  I know a Democrat who watched most of the debate, and he thought that there were no clear winners or losers, and did not see it as a game-changer in the least.  

    Two other important points to keep in mind are: 1) All of George W. Bush’s “defeats” in the debates never really seemed to hurt him and 2) All of Romney’s “wins” from the fall debates never seemed to help him that much. 🙂

    Concerning the polls, Santorum has consistently overperformed his polling numbers (by 6 points on average), while Romney has slightly underperformed.  So, unless we see some big changes in the next few days, I believe Santorum will win MI.  Furthermore, as of a few days ago, over 100,000 folks had already cast absentee ballots in MI, and who knows what that number is now.  That fact should definitely help Santorum.

    As for AZ, Romney is the favorite, as you stated.  (And 70-80% of the votes have already been cast by “early” voters, I believe.) But I’m also glad you mentioned CO to show how woefully inaccurate the polls can often be.  🙂   If it’s fairly close in AZ, I would consider that a “win” for Santorum.

    I’ve heard people say that the only way Romney can gain some serious momentum is to have two big wins on Tuesday.  I personally don’t see that happening.

    1. Yeah I’m not yelling the sky is falling because of a less than ideal debate performance.  Yeah I don’t think he’s going to have a big win in AZ, and I’m not convinced he’ll pull it out in Michigan either.

      1. Conventional wisdom, along with the polls, has proved wrong again and again this election season.  🙂  I don’t mind when folks acknowledge the race is tightening up, but I’ve heard so much negativity the past few days from a lot of conservatives.  It seems the best way to describe them would be “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of the polls.”  😉   

        I don’t know what’s going to happen, so I’m glad we can leave it all up to God.  I will be praying, however, that Santorum get great turnout (even “crossover” turnout), while supporters for Romney et al. find something else to do on Tuesday.  LOL.   

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