New Poll: Santorum Ahead of Romney in Michigan

When asked about polls that suggest former Senator Rick Santorum is poised to be Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in the upcoming Republican presidential Michigan primary, Romney flatly says: “That won’t happen.” But the latest poll suggests former Massachusetts Governor whose father served as Michigan my have to repeat it often to be severely convincing:

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has a slim lead over Mitt Romney, an indication the Michigan native son has yet to convince state voters he should be the Republican nominee for president, a Detroit News poll shows.

Santorum leads Romney 34 percent to 30.4 percent among likely Republican primary voters, but the gap is within the margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had support from 11.6 percent of respondents, former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul had 8.9 percent and 12.4 percent was undecided.

Despite Romney’s win here in 2008 and the built-in advantages of name recognition and familiarity, party regulars appear to have doubts about his conservative credentials and the worth of his Michigan ties. It may cost him the dominant primary victory many expected.

Greg Rotter, an attorney and Santorum supporter from Indian River, said: “Is (Romney) saying things to get elected?”

Romney was four points behind with Santorum even though far more voters believe he’s a better leader than Santorum (38 percent to 15.8 percent) and more likely to beat President Barack Obama (42.2 percent to 18.4 percent).

The primary may come down to which electorate shows up: Will the heavily Santorum-leaning social conservatives get out in droves or will moderates, who favor Romney, comprise the majority? That could decide the state, said pollster Richard Czuba, whose firm, Glengariff Group Inc., conducted the poll.

“It all depends on who votes,” he said.

Meanwhile, all signs point to Romney having a main opponent now who can counter him in advertising buys:

As of Wednesday, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and his super PAC supporters were outspending Santorum and his allies 29-to-1 in Michigan this week. This buy will correct some of that imbalance.

“As we’ve seen throughout this election cycle, the Romney campaign is good at two things: spending tons of cash and tearing others down. It won’t work here,” said Stuart Roy, an adviser to the group, in a statement.

Expect fireworks…now in February..

  • zephyr

    I’ll bet dollars to donuts Romney will win the Michigan primary. The governor here (who is a clever politician despite his denials of actually being a politician) has endorsed Romney because he knows Santorum has a snowball’s chance in hell of beating Obama. As soon as the Santorum crush wears off R primary voters will realize this too and will get in line. (One scenario that might change this is if a lot of dems vote for Santorum in the R primary to cause mischief.)

  • The_Ohioan

    zephyr

    Many who foamed at the mouth over Libaugh’s Operation Chaos now think it’s smart to do the same stupid thing in all Republican open primaries.

    I think it’s the most stupid thing ever. What if Santorum gets the nomination as a result? There’s no guarantee of how an election between Santorum and Obama would turn out – none.

  • zephyr

    No guarantee, but if the electorate is damaged enough to put a Rick Santorum in the White House then we’re already toast.

    Btw, I wasn’t advocating the primary mischief, although I can think of a situation where it does make sense.

  • bluebelle

    There is no way Santorum would win. He has gone on record and said polarizing things that make Newt Gingrich look congenial. Independents and moderates don’t know that much about him because Romney has been attacking from the right– but once a Democrat put together an attack ad on some of his social views he would be toast. Here is what RS said after the RC pedophile scandal broke in Boston:

    “It is startling that those in the media and academia appear most disturbed by this aberrant behavior, since they have zealously promoted moral relativism by sanctioning “private” moral matters such as alternative lifestyles. Priests, like all of us, are affected by culture. When the culture is sick, every element in it becomes infected. While it is no excuse for this scandal, it is no surprise that Boston, a seat of academic, political and cultural liberalism in America, lies at the center of the storm.”

    I don’t know of any successful presidential candidate who has made a blanket statement like this– he sounds like a male Ann Coulter here.

  • zephyr

    Of course I don’t think Santorum has a chance, but his rise in the polls should be taken seriously as a sign of sickness in the electorate. Decades of moderate and tolerant behavior on the part of democrats (on average) has really enabled the crazier and out of touch people on the right side of the spectrum. We all know who they are since we read and hear their outlandish and inane comments and excuses daily. The problem as I see it is a citizenry whose sensibilities have become so dim they don’t summon the appropriate outrage and response to counter this wrongness. What will it take for voters to wake up???

  • The_Ohioan

    Ever since 48 million people voted for Sarah Palin for VP, my faith in the reasonableness of the voting public has been kaput.

    Anything can happen before November 6 – anything.