Skip to comments.Santorum crushing the field in Texas; Update: Also Oklahoma
Posted on 02/20/2012 6:18:49 PM PST by SeekAndFind
If Texas had already settled its legislative redistricting issues, it would play an important part in the Republican presidential primary process. With their redistricting tied up in court, however, Texas has had to move its primary from Super Tuesday in March to late May or early June. That’s bad news for Rick Santorum, who has a crushing lead at the moment in a new statewide poll from the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune:
Santorum would get the votes of 45 percent of the respondents if the election were held today, according to the survey. The other three candidates in the GOP race former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas are clustered well behind. Gingrich got 18 percent, Romney received 16 percent and Paul garnered 14 percent.
The presidential race in Texas remains highly volatile, and the numbers could change significantly between now and the state’s primaries. They were originally scheduled for March 6 early voting would have started this week but have been delayed by redistricting litigation. Texas still doesn’t have all of its congressional and legislative maps in place, and May 29 appears to be the earliest possible primary date.
If the maps are further delayed, the primaries could slide into June. Either way, the other candidates have time to try to catch the front-runner, and the delays move the focus and some electoral clout from Texas to other states that will vote sooner.
“Rick Santorum has cut through the clutter and emerged as not simply the non-Romney candidate, but as the most credible conservative candidate in the race,” said Daron Shaw, co-director of the UT/TT poll and a professor of government at the University of Texas at Austin. “He hasn’t totally clinched that, but Santorum has gone from a guy who couldn’t get two minutes in a debate to being a guy who looks like the front-runner not just in Texas, but maybe nationally.”
At least according to Gallup’s tracking poll, Santorum has become the national frontrunner. Yesterday’s iteration put him eight points above Mitt Romney, 36/28, in their five-day rolling average. That was a gain of two points in the gap from the previous day, which suggests that Santorum’s emphasis on fighting Obama over the HHS mandate has not hurt him among Republican voters at all.
In Texas, Santorum also has made the case for his electability, the most important aspect of the primary for 45% of the likely primary voters in the survey. Among likely general-election voters in Texas, Santorum has the widest margin of victory over Barack Obama and the only one to win a majority, 51/37. Romney comes close at 49/36, as does Newt Gingrich (49/38). Native Texan Ron Paul only gets a 44/35 spread over Obama. The partisan D/R/I split in this poll is 35/33/29, for those keeping score.
Santorum’s edge comes from his personal standing with the electorate. He gets the highest favorability rating in the poll with a 42/31 split (14% neither favorable or unfavorable). Romney is underwater at 37/48, as is Gingrich at 33/49 and Paul at 30/41. (Obama gets a 40/55 favorability rating and a 39/55 job approval rating.) Those ratings make it difficult for Santorum’s competitors to gain traction against him unless Santorum ends up getting eliminated before Texas gets a chance to hold its primaries.
As noted, though, Texas matters very little at the moment. As a gauge of how the race is going, it’s certainly a good data point, but Santorum won’t get a crack at these delegates unless he’s around at the very end. Mitt Romney should hope that the fight over the redistricting in Texas will play a very big role in this nomination process.
Update: I meant to write that “Santorum’s emphasis on fighting Obama over the HHS mandate has not hurt him among Republican voters at all,” but left out the word not, which was, er … an important word in that sentence. I’ve fixed it, and sorry for the confusion.
Update II: Oklahoma will vote in the March 6th Super Tuesday contests, and it looks as though Santorum will win handily there, too:
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has surged to the front among Oklahomas Republican voters, according to a SoonerPoll.com survey released Sunday.
Santorum was the first choice of 39 percent of the 278 likely voters who said they planned to participate in the March 6 state GOP primary.
Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, first in a survey conducted last fall, dropped to third, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who remained second.
Romney, generally considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, was at 23 percent, followed by Gingrich at 18.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was at 8 percent, and 13 percent were undecided.
That’s a pretty small sample, although not so small as to be discarded entirely. I’d like to see something with a 500-respondent or so sample to see how well it lines up with this poll.
I like Palin, Gingrich, and Perry.
I like Palin, Gingrich, and Perry.
If Santorum gets the nomination, he will have a MUCH better chance to defeat Obama than Romney would.
30 years ago, a sense of humor would go far, but today America is headed at full speed toward Communist hell. IMO no laughing matter at all.....
I don’t think so. I think your average independent voter thinks Santorum is kind of nuts. Santorum is, in my opinion, completely unelectable. He’d be our version of McGovern.
The Democrats in Texas are doing everything they can to help Romney get the nomination by tying the redistricting in knots and delaying the GOP primary. It’s something they can do to help get Obama re-elected in Nov.
I wonder if anyone has thought to sue to get the primary back into April? It really makes me mad that our primary is pushed off for this redistricting lawsuit crap! Our elected officials came up with a map - USE IT! It will never be perfect. Too bad if some one doesn’t like it. Get out and VOTE if you don’t like it!
We can disagree. My goal is to ensure Romney’s defeat, any way possible.
Agreed 110%... this is depressing. Its like watching a car wreck in slow motion and there is absolutely you can do to prevent it... I’m just hoping we keep enough seats in the House/Senate so Obama won’t have his way legislatively.
All those Texas delegates may matter quite a bit if they put Santorum over the top, even if it comes in June. It might be what prevents or allows the prospect of a brokered convention.
But take one other thing away, Santorum beats Obama 51/37 in Texas even though the sample is 35% Democrat. That means that independents are not fleeing Santorum over social issues, at least not yet or not in Texas.
Yup... someone who lost their home state by 17-18% and home schools his 7 kids is what the Democrats will play on... they’ll successfully make him out to be an extremist; someone out of the mainstream. In the general election I just see no way Santorum gets any traction...
Newt who was the 2nd most powerful person in the country as Speaker of the House. He has the leadership experience and the track record to get things done. He also has laid out specific plans.
Then we have Mitt, who does have executive experience and leadership, albeit not the kind we are wanting.
Then we have nice guy Rick, who has no executive experience and was Jr Senator for 14 years with no stellar record of running anything!
So on what basis does anyone think at this point that Rick, the nice guy, can run this country, given the dire straits we are in?
Let him be VP under Newt if need be, but why in the heck would anyone want him in charge during these times.. It would be like on the job training, which in a good economy, might be OK, but not now!
His oldest son is only about 18-19 years old and his other three sons are all under age 18 with the youngest only 10-11 years old. Besides, the military is cutting back. And the boys have free choice-—maybe THEY don’t want to be in the military.
Well it’s a good thing we have folks like the McCains & Hunters (and Webbs & Johnsons for that matter) whose sons man up. I suppose it’s all in how they are raised; some guys find it shameful to sit on the sidelines.
It would be interesting had we known what professions they are in. I don’t begrudge them not being in the military because it has nothing to do with them but their father who is a liberal Republican at best. The sons, had it been a draft and were given special treatment would piss me off but since it is voluntary military, I don’t have a problem with all 5 not going into the military. I have 6 male cousins (all over 38) from the same family and not one went into the military. However in my immediate family of two boys and one girl, two of us went into the military. Since less than 1 percent of the population ever goes into the military today, I can’t blame Mitt’s sons for not going into the military. Goodness there are a ton more reasons to not vote for that jerk. lol.
I think he was referring to Romney’s children. Our FRiend knows that the Santorum kids are too young to go into the military except for maybe one or I think so.