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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Santorum Moves Ahead in Michigan

This is the best and most astonishing news yet in the GOP presidential primary season.  Our friends who insist that the liberal Massachusetts Governor is "inevitable" and "electable" will get quite a shock when the chameleon candidate is defeated in one of his home states, a state in which his father served as Governor.  This demonstrates once again, that Republicans and Americans as a whole want a "choice, not an echo."  Nominating an Obama-Lite, yet another in the long string of losing "moderates" - Wilkie, Dewey, Ford, Dole and McCain - is not an answer; it is a proven prescription for defeat.

Our country is in grave crisis and the words of Ronald Reagan are as true as when he uttered them in 1975:
"Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors, which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?"

From Public Policy Polling


Rick Santorum's taken a large lead in Michigan's upcoming Republican primary. He's at 39% to 24% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Ron Paul, and 11% for Newt Gingrich.

Santorum's rise is attributable to two major factors: his own personal popularity (a stellar 67/23 favorability) and GOP voters increasingly souring on Gingrich. Santorum's becoming something closer and closer to a consensus conservative candidate as Gingrich bleeds support.


Santorum's winning an outright majority of the Tea Party vote with 53% to 22% for Romney and 10% for Gingrich. He comes close to one with Evangelicals as well at 48% to 20% for Romney and 12% for Gingrich. And he cracks the 50% line with voters identifying as 'very conservative' at 51% to 20% for Romney and 10% for Gingrich.

Santorum's benefiting from the open nature of Michigan's primary as well. He's only up by 12 points with actual Republican voters, but he has a 40-21 advantage with the Democrats and independents planning to vote that pushes his overall lead up to 15 points. Santorum is winning by a healthy margin in every region of the state except for Oakland County, where Romney has a 40-26 advantage, and the area around Lansing where Paul actually has an advantage at 30% to 27% for both Romney and Santorum.

Republican voters aren't just declining to vote for Gingrich at this point- they don't even like him anymore. Just 38% have a favorable opinion of him to 47% with a negative one. His numbers are inching back closer to what they were before his surge in the polls began in November. His continued presence in the race is a boost to Romney though. 54% of his supporters would go to Santorum if he dropped out, compared to only 21% for Romney and 14% for Paul. Santorum's lead in a Newt-less field would expand to 21 points with him at 48% to 27% for Romney and 13% for Paul. So every day Gingrich stays in is a saving grace for Romney's hopes.

Michigan is perceived as a state where Romney really has a home field advantage, but only 26% of primary voters actually consider him to be a Michigander while 62% do not. Only 39% have a favorable opinion of George Romney with a 46% plurality having no opinion about him. Romney really doesn't have some great reservoir of goodwill in Michigan to fall back on. Only 49% of voters have a favorable opinion of him to 39% with a negative one. That's down a net 28 points from our last poll of Michigan in July when he was at +38 (61/23).

For all that, Santorum probably shouldn't get too comfortable. There is a lot of potential for fluidity in the Michigan race, with only 47% of voters saying they're strongly committed to their candidate while 53% are open to changing their minds in the next two weeks.

Romney's support is a little more firm with 52% of his voters saying they'll definitely end up supporting him compared to 46% who say that for Santorum. This situation is reminiscent of what happened in Florida right after Newt Gingrich's big win in South Carolina- he took the lead then quickly lost it in a big way after coming under attack by Romney. Given how open voters are to changing their minds a repeat of that in Michigan would not be a huge surprise.
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