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Numbers Suggest Santorum Could Be Romney's Worst Nightmare ^ | February 17, 2012 | Scott Rassmussen

Posted on 02/17/2012 5:48:02 AM PST by Kaslin

In a campaign defined by Republican reluctance to embrace Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum has emerged as the latest not-Romney candidate to surge ahead. While it's impossible to predict what will happen in this volatile election season, the data suggests that Santorum might be more of a challenge for Romney than earlier flavors of the month.

The latest Rasmussen Reports poll of the GOP race shows that Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney by 12 points, 39 percent to 27 percent. Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul are far behind. In and of itself, that's nothing new. The man from Massachusetts has at times trailed Michele Bachmann, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in the polls.

What is new are the numbers from a head-to-head matchup with no other candidates in the race. Santorum leads Romney 55 percent to 34 percent. None of the earlier Romney alternatives could manage better than a toss-up in such a contest.

Those numbers show that Santorum picks up 16 points when other candidates drop out. Romney adds just 7 to his column. Santorum makes huge gains among conservative voters when others drop out of the race. Among non-conservatives, Santorum and Romney gain roughly equal amounts. For the first time, the numbers show that if one of Romney's challengers drops out, the other challenger will overwhelmingly benefit. Gingrich supporters, by a three-to-one margin, would vote for Santorum over Romney if that was the final choice.

Both Romney and Santorum are well-liked by Republican Primary voters, but Santorum has a slight advantage on this pointm as well. Seventy-five percent offer a favorable opinion of Santorum, while 66 percent say the same of Romney.

There is a huge passion gap favoring Santorum, though. Forty percent of Republican primary voters have a very favorable opinion of Santorum. Just 18 percent are that enthusiastic about Romney.

The one thing keeping Romney afloat is that he is still perceived as the strongest general election candidate. For some Republicans, that's enough. But to survive the Santorum challenge, Romney needs to give primary voters something more, something positive. GOP voters want a reason to vote for him beyond the fact that he has the most money and the best organization.

Team Romney needs to acknowledge that Republican voters are not only strongly opposed to President Obama's agenda but that they don't think much of Washington Republicans, either. They want a president who would shake up the good old boys network in Washington rather than join it. To date, Romney's attitude signals that he'd be more comfortable leading the club than challenging it.

Santorum has a very different challenge. First, he must survive the onslaught of ads coming from the Romney campaign. Then, he must convince Republican voters that he can win the general election in November. Electability is still the most important factor for Republican voters. If Santorum can neutralize the electability argument, he could become Romney's worst nightmare.

The next primary competitions are slated for Feb. 28 in Arizona and Michigan. If Romney wins both states, the race will probably be over. However, if Santorum can pull off a victory that day, he will be far more than the latest flavor of the month.

TOPICS: Breaking News; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: 2012polls; freeperheadsexplode; prolifelikebush; prolifesantorum; rassmussen; santorum; santorumbush3; santorumprolife
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To: WPaCon

My point was that if Southerners and Scots-Irish in all rural areas sit on their hands, Romney would not win some of the Southern states, like Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia. Gingrich got the vote out in South Carolina and would do so in all Southern and in the border and some Western States. I cannot speak for the Northeast.

121 posted on 02/18/2012 2:08:23 PM PST by 22cal (Forgiven, not perfected)
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To: 22cal

You do have a point with regard to states like Virginia, North Carolina, and Florida.

122 posted on 02/18/2012 2:16:01 PM PST by WPaCon
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Santorum is no Reagan. In fact, he is in innumerable clips saying inflammatory and off-color remarks about Protestantism, blacks, gays, women etc. Reagan was warm, strong and uplifting. He had relentless, boundless optimism combined with strong executive leadership that restored confidence in America. He wasn’t a hater.

Newt has written whole books about Reagan and his optimism.

123 posted on 02/18/2012 3:55:11 PM PST by erlayman
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To: KansasGirl

The nomination process is announced as “over” any time the left most candidate wins a primary.

124 posted on 02/18/2012 6:08:35 PM PST by Personal Responsibility (Obama 2012: Dozens of MSNBC viewers can't be wrong!)
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29 posted on Friday, February 17, 2012 9:38:13 AM by PSYCHO-FREEP: “Right, and only a month ago, Santorum was “Deadman Walking”. Only a million votes have been cast to date and barely 100 out of over 1,100 have been awarded to any one candidate. But “It's ALL OVER NOW!” “President” Santorum won, Newt is “Dead-Man-walking”.......... (Keep repeating that to yourself in the mirror.)”

I've been saying for a long time that it's too early for either of the two main “anti-Romney” candidates to pull out.

I haven't checked posting history. A month ago, when even fewer votes had been cast for either candidate, did you think Santorum should pull out?

If not, you're consistent. I respect that.

On the other hand, if you did say a month ago that Santorum should pull out, I think an explanation of your change, now that your candidate is behind, would be helpful.

125 posted on 02/18/2012 7:09:16 PM PST by darrellmaurina
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“Santorum is not perfect, but there is no doubt in my mind he was a strong Reagan supporter in his youth and if elected he’d probably govern very closely to the way RR did. As an aside, I believe he is the only candidate who would make positive steps to reverse the homosexualization and feminization of the military, which I would strongly support.”

Just wanted to say I strongly agree with everything you said, especially the last part. America has had the best military in world history for decades, we shouldn’t be messing with a winning formula.

126 posted on 02/18/2012 9:03:32 PM PST by PreciousLiberty (Real Hope - Santorum '12!!!)
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To: TomGuy
Santorum has become the ‘not’ candidate.

May help him in the primaries. Will evaporate in the general. Nobody outside the gop club gives a whit about who he is "Not."

127 posted on 02/18/2012 10:23:54 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: wardaddy
Let's be honest. If Santorum gets the carpet bombing that Newt got, Little Rickey will be wetting his pants and crying for his mommy.
128 posted on 02/18/2012 10:34:25 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: A Navy Vet
You are right about the 'rat tactics with Newt. All the crap people here mindlessly repeat as "baggage" is stuff that the rest of the country would not even notice. It just illustrates the tunnel vision of the purist right.

EG: Out in the real world, how many people will care about his PSA with Nancy Pelosi? None. But among the zombie faction here it is earth shaking.

129 posted on 02/18/2012 11:02:31 PM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: erlayman

I agree with you, Santorum is no Reagan. My point was that if elected, he’d likely govern very closely to him. I know Romney would be a huge disappointment for conservatives, as he was in Massachusetts. As regards Newt, I’ve decided the criticism regarding his narcism and perhaps even stability has some merit. Of the three, I’d be most comfortable with Santorum making an appointment to the USSC, choosing a SecDef or making military policy.

130 posted on 02/18/2012 11:33:33 PM PST by MSF BU
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“I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement.” This is true. Santorum has fought against small government conservatism his entire career. I’m not a Romney supporter by any means but at least he did balance the budget and veto huge numbers of spending bills as governor.

Santorum can talk now about Reagan principles of strong national defense, limited government and individual liberty but the record his more like an George W. Bush Republican.

131 posted on 02/19/2012 5:59:42 AM PST by erlayman
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To: erlayman

He is likely referencing against the types of influences that favor homosexualizing the military, legalizing heroin, placing women into combat, opening our borders, etc. Again, I’m not a huge fan of any of them, but it is looking more and more as though it has to be one of the three, and Santorum is not bad. Of the three of them, he’d be the best at reversing the slide in the military, implementing immigration controls and a sensible immigration policy and reversing the myriad of social policies Obamaa is implementing. I also believe that he’d appoint the best judges of the three.

132 posted on 02/19/2012 6:31:41 AM PST by MSF BU
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Santorum is not a social or economic libertarian and therefore not a Reagan Republican. He believes all freedom should be regulated. He believes people shouldn’t be allowed to live their lives without heavy government regulation. He believes the federal government needs to enforce his “conservative” personal beliefs on everyone. Romney would also reverse the slide in the military and implement a sensible immigration policy. Gingrich is perhaps the most genuinely conservative but they are all basically bigger fans of more government than they are of more freedom,

133 posted on 02/19/2012 7:34:57 AM PST by erlayman
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To: erlayman

Reagan was a social libertiarian? You mean the guy who implemented the “we ask, don’t join” homosexual policy for the military, tried to put Robert Bork on the USSC and campaigned aggressively for the reelection of Jesse Helms? Sorry, that’s not what a social libertarian will do. Why don’t you go read “Abortion and the Conscience of the Nation” and get back to us. Incidently, the social libertarians were by and large not backing Reagan in 1976 and 1980, and there were clear reasons for that. As for Romney implementing measures to reverse the slide in the miltary, he has already indicated he won’t reverse Obama’s homosexualization policy; enough said.

134 posted on 02/19/2012 8:26:55 AM PST by MSF BU
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To: hinckley buzzard

Rick doesn’t have the draft avoidance and adultery problems.

135 posted on 02/19/2012 8:28:45 AM PST by MSF BU
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Well, Reagan tried to pull together a coalition of the religious right, social conservatives and libertarians so it was a mixed record. No on National Security and the war on drugs. But he was a lot of talk on abortion and I think the record in California shows an overtly non-discriminatory attitude towards gays in the workplace. Certainly he never got off on the way out of the mainstream social agenda kick that Santorum has made the cornerstone of his campaign.

136 posted on 02/19/2012 11:18:26 AM PST by erlayman
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To: erlayman

Really? I thought Governor Reagan threw Phil Battaglia off his staff when he found out he was a homosexual, and joked to the others to troll the guy up and down the hallway to see if they could flush out anymore of them. As President, he instituted a policy for the first time that asked military members and recruits if they were homosexuals. Says yes, and you were gone. That doesn’t sound moderate to me. The Libertarians like to rewrite history so as to make Ronald Reagan into William Weld. It’s not so.

137 posted on 02/19/2012 11:34:47 AM PST by MSF BU
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Reagan and Nancy were Hollywood folk, had a lot of gay friends and exposure to gays in the movie industry I think left him about as comfortable with homosexuals as a man of his times was likely to be. So probably somewhat more tolerant than Carter/Mondale, but not accepting or condoning by current standards. Like a lot of issues, he talked the talk of religious conservatism, but he did not often walk the walk.

And I thought the absolute ban on gays in the military was in place long before his tenure. ?

138 posted on 02/19/2012 12:52:37 PM PST by erlayman
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To: erlayman

Reagan instituted the specific policy directing service members be asked specifically. It was an excellent policy by the way.

139 posted on 02/20/2012 4:51:51 AM PST by MSF BU
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To: presently no screen name
That’s a compliment coming from one who embraces evil - in fact, it’s to be expected for they HATE the TRUTH to be spoken. And it shows why you are drawn to the liar lawyer slick rick.

LOL @ you...sicko!

140 posted on 02/20/2012 6:00:16 AM PST by pgkdan (Rick Santorum 2012. Conservative's last, best chance!)
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