Bad Polling News For Mitt Romney: Two New National Polls Say Santorum Now Statistically Tied With Him

Daryl Cagle, MSNBC.com

Two new polls suggest former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney now has big problem. In the “Wizard of Oz” Dorothy thinks if she an say “There’s no place like home” she can return home. At this weekend’s big conservative CPAC powwow in Washington Romney seemed to believe that if he used the word “conservative” more than two dozen times and said he was a “severely conservative” governor it would convince his party’s conservative base.

The polls suggest Romney has lots of work to do — and not just among GOPers but also from independent voters as they abandon him the more he tries to woo his party’s conservative base.

Gallup:

Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are now statistically tied for the lead in Republican registered voters’ preferences for the 2012 GOP nomination — 32% to 30%, respectively. Newt Gingrich, who led the field as recently as late January, is now third, favored by 16%, while Ron Paul’s support has dwindled to 8%, the lowest level yet seen for him in 2012.

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking from Feb. 8-12 — the first Gallup tracking period conducted wholly after Santorum’s sweep of the Feb. 7 state nominating contests.

Santorum’s 14-point surge in support since just before Feb. 7, from 16% to 30%, appears to have come at the expense of all of his major opponents. Support for Romney and Gingrich has declined by five and six percentage points, respectively, over the same period, and support for Paul, by three points. The percentage unsure has increased slightly, from 11% to 13%.

Santorum’s surge coming off of his wins in Colorado, Missouri, and Minnesota is not unusual, given the volatility already seen in national Republican preferences. However, the magnitude of his 14-point gain over the five-day periods bracketing the Feb. 7 contests is the largest post-primary/caucus bounce Gallup has recorded since the primary season began.

This suggests that unlike the former anti-Romney frontrunners Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, Santorum may be more than just a political flavor of the month.

By contrast, Romney’s support grew by six points in the first five days after his apparent win in the Iowa caucuses — with state election officials revising the results and declaring Santorum the winner a few weeks later. Santorum’s support also swelled, by 12 points — from 6% to 18% — within the first week after he purportedly placed second in Iowa.

Romney then enjoyed a seven-point gain after winning the New Hampshire primary. Gingrich gained nine points after winning the South Carolina primary, building on a 10-point gain he made in the period between New Hampshire and South Carolina. Romney then recovered by 10 points after his decisive victory in Florida.
Pew Research:

Rick Santorum’s support among Tea Party Republicans and white evangelicals is surging, and he now has pulled into a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. In polling conducted Feb. 8-12, 30% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters favor Santorum while 28% favor Romney. As recently as a month ago, Romney held a 31% to 14% advantage over Santorum among all GOP voters.

Santorum is now the clear favorite of Republican and GOP-leaning voters who agree with the Tea Party, as well as white evangelical Republicans. Currently, 42% of Tea Party Republican voters favor Santorum, compared with just 23% who back Romney. Santorum holds an almost identical advantage among white evangelical Republican voters (41% to 23%)…..
Obama leads Santorum by 10 points among all registered voters (53% to 43%) and his lead over Romney is nearly as large (52% to 44%). Romney ran about even with Obama in November and mid-January. Obama has a larger advantage over Newt Gingrich than over Santorum or Romney: Obama leads the former House speaker by 18 points (57% to 39%). Obama has made gains among independent voters. Today, 51% of independents favor Obama in a matchup against Romney, up from 40% a month ago.
So the more Romney has to repeat the word conservative, or have it tattooed on his forehead, the more the extended GOP campaign will will be severely helpful to Obama.

And it could get worse for Romney: Santorum is planning an “aggressive strategy” against him.

4 Comments

  1. Santorum will stabilize with Gingrich’s voters moving toward him. He is the Tea Party’s and evangelicals last best hope. I would expect that to continue and would not surprised if a brokered convention will be the outcome.

    Nate Silver explains the upheaval “…we can still probably conclude that voter preferences have been incredibly fickle in this primary season. I don’t think you can develop a successful theory about this race unless you assume that voters are changing their minds — a lot. Some demographic groups may be more inclined to support certain candidates than others — but there are a lot of swing voters, and they have been swinging.”

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.n.....-santorum/

  2. Santorum is capitalizing on the schism between the White House and the Bishops on Catholic institutions offering birth control to their employees.
    Romney is not a Catholic or really a social conservative and cannot speak on this issue with passion. He still has all the money and the organization tho– so he is still the inevitable nominee. I do think this is hurting him in the general because it shows that he’s not catching on with the social cons

  3. “we can still probably conclude that voter preferences have been incredibly fickle in this primary season” – Nate Silver

    I would call that a charitable assessment.

  4. “Santorum may be more than just a political flavor of the month”…totally agree. Santorum is a better conservative candidate than Newt, but he will get crush in the general.

    He’ll end up the VP candidate with Mitt as P.
    His polling is only going to get stronger, but the old guard knows that he can’t beat Obama.

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