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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