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Santormentum?

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Ouch.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum continues to ride his polling momentum into Ohio where he leads Mitt Romney by nearly two-to-one in the first Rasmussen Reports survey of Republicans in the state.

The new statewide telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary voters shows Santorum picking up 42% of the vote to Romney’s 24%. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich draws 13% support, while Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 10%. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

It’s Rasmussen, which means that ferreting out the intended message is as important as looking at the data, but it’s interesting that Rasmussen only has Santorum up by 3 in Michigan. Frankly, I think it’s time for Lemieux to demonstrate his confidence in Mitt Romney’s inevitably by offering to eat his Expos hat on camera if Romney loses, or some such similar gesture.

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  • Malaclypse

    To be fair, Scott has bet cash money. And I value my Portland Sea Dogs hat too much to risk it.

    • efgoldman

      An attorney? Betting ca$h money? Gambling? On the intartoobz?
      I can’t believe Scott would (ahem) risk his law license over Senator Savonarola.

      • rea

        Scott ain’t an attorney, unless I misrecollect. Paul’s the attorney.

      • Hogan

        An attorney?

        No, this is Scott we’re talking about.

        • efgoldman

          He looks like I did, before I grew my beard in the 70s.

          • Jeremy

            It’s weird to see his photo. I’ve been reading for years, but the only face I’ve seen has been Farley’s bearded mug on bloggingheads. My mental image of all of LGM as bearded swashbucklers battling the right has been utterly dashed.

  • Charlie Sweatpants

    Good news is good news, and I’ve been a longtime believer in Not Romney as the nominee, but we’re still two weeks from Michigan/Arizona and three from Ohio and company. If these poll numbers look the same at this time next week, I’ll allow my hopes to get up. For now though, I’ll just content myself with the ongoing embarrassment this primary campaign has been for Mittens.

  • ploeg

    The wheels are about to fall off of the Santorumwagon.

    • strannix

      I feel good knowing that TPM is all over this important, meaningful story.

  • Mitt Romney is inevitable…on paper.

    That’s why you have to watch the games. Individual ability matters.

    • ploeg

      We’ve been running games for some time now. Romney’s ahead on delegates 123-72. And the only states that Santorum has won so far are caucus states. From the middle of next month on, they’re all going to be primary states, and that’s when all the big states come up.

      • John

        He also won a meaningless beauty contest primary in Missouri.

        • ploeg

          Yes, I forgot to mention that. Thanks! And that fact might be applicable to the caucus that actually decides the allotment of delegates (to be held on 17 March), or it might not. In any case, Santorum is behind on delegates, he needs to start winning primaries to pull ahead, and he hasn’t won a binding primary yet.

          • Robert Farley

            Ja. I don’t think Santorum can pull it off (Bernstein has a good post, though, about what it might look like if Santorum captured the popular vote, so to speak, but lost the delegate race to Romney), but it would certainly be bloody unpleasant for Romney if he loses Michigan and Ohio.

          • And that fact might be applicable to the caucus that actually decides the allotment of delegates (to be held on 17 March), or it might not.

            OK, just so I’m not misunderstanding:

            1. Santorum only wins caucuses!*

            2. Santorum won the Missouri primary.

            3. The above facts tell us nothing about how he will do in the Missouri caucus, or how he will do in primaries.

            Let me know if I’ve got any of that wrong.

            *I haven’t heard this one since it was Mark Penn saying it about Barack Obama.

    • strannix

      Individual ability matters.

      If this is an argument for Santorum … I don’t see it.

      • It’s an argument for Santorum in a race against Romney.

        No, he’s not Bill Clinton…but he doesn’t have to be.

        • strannix

          Still don’t see it.

          • Njorl

            Romney puts his foot in his mouth in an nasty way. Republicans like the way Santorum puts his foot in his mouth.

            • Pseudonym

              The problem is more that Republicans like the nasty way Santorum puts his foot in his mouth, and Romney’s way isn’t nasty enough.

    • John

      Firstly, I see no evidence that Santorum has any more “individual ability” than Romney does. He’s just benefiting from the general “nobody likes Romney” sentiment.

      Secondly, it’s way too early to say that Santorum’s going to be the nominee. He has no resources!

      • Firstly, I like being able to fire people.

        I’m not concerned about the poor.

        Corporations are people, my friend.

        Second, I’ve not said that Santorum will win. I think people who are making predictions about how this race will turn out are talking through their hat, and I don’t intend to join them.

        • Pseudonym

          Firstly, “I like being able to fire people” is not man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.

          Secondly, what good are hats if not for talking through or eating?

    • Scott Lemieux

      Actually, Mittens is a pretty terrible candidate on paper, would would clearly lose to a serious and well-funded campaign by a marginally competent orthodox conservative. He is overwhelmingly likely to win because he’s not facing one, and Newt (who you inexplicably considered a strong contender) meets none of the relevant crietria. Santorum, at least, is serious and a pretty orthodox winger, but whether he can raise the money remains to be seen.

      • Actually, Mittens is a pretty terrible candidate on paper

        No, he’s not. His resume, his money, and his organization should make him a fearsome opponent. It’s his performance, his personal qualities as a campaigner, that are screwing him up. If he was a terrible candidate on paper, he wouldn’t have been able to nail down so many donors and Republican elites, and make himself the “inevitable” candidate in the eyes of…well…some.

        who you inexplicably considered a strong contender

        Since I’ve explicated why Gingrich’s rise from the dead and victory in South Carolina were unsurprising to me several dozen times on this site already, it’s clearly not inexplicable.

        but whether he can raise the money remains to be seen.

        At a certain point, you’re going to have to start incorporating Citizens United and the candidates’ pet billionaires into your understanding of the role of money in this race.

        • djw

          No, he’s not.

          Signing an early version of a health care plan the Republican base is now obligated to consider pure evil is part of the “on paper” evaluation or Romney, as are his loud and clear declarations about how pro-choice he is.

          • John McCain won the 2008 Republican primary.

            The author of McCain-Feingold, the sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform, the guy who tore into Pat Robertson in 2000 and criticized George Bush’s handling of the war so much that they had to stage that awkward, arm-pit hug photo, won the Republican primary.

            • I would argue that the biggest reason McCain won the nomination is because no one liked Romney. If Romney were even a moderately likeable candidate, he could have stopped McCain in New Hampshire, Florida, or Super Tuesday. But McCain won all of those contests in no small part because his main competition in each was Romney.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Why you thought that Newt’s win in South Carolina made him a viable candidate to win the nomination remains inexplicable.

          • To you, Scott, why anyone but Mitt Romney could win a contest after February 1st remains inexplicable.

      • Hogan

        Per TPM, the Red, White and Blue Fund just put down a major ad buy for Santorum in Michigan, to the point where he’s being outspent only 3:1 instead of 29:1. Of course, if the money came from the “aspirin between the knees” guy, it could be a wash.

      • Pseudonym

        One could argue that, in fact, Mittens is very likely to lose to a serious and well-funded campaign by an at-least-marginally-competent conservative. Just in the general election.

        I’m not saying I would argue that.

  • jon

    Santorm Makes Mess Of Romney Polls

  • BradP

    What really worries me about Santorum’s success deals with the effects it would have on voter motivation. I think there is no doubt that Obama would dominate Santorum when it came to the approval of moderates and independents.

    However, this election cycle seems to promise to be very unenthusiastic. A Santorum candidacy immediately creates a narrative where one candidate is a joke, and this only deadens any enthusiasm independents would have. Meanwhile, no group is more motivated than that weird insular conservative bloc who perpetually feels persecuted regardless of how ridiculous their position is.

    One side will sleepwalk through the election cycle, while the other will never be more convinced that an elitist government and media is out to get them.

    Shifting motivations could go a long way towards shrinking any credibility gap Santorum could suffer.

    • Marc

      I’d say “terrifying threat” is more likely to be the reaction of the sane than “joke”. The Obama team will just have to run ads where they let Santorum speak for himself.

      • BradP

        I think you pay too much attention to liberal outlets. Mainstream political discourse in this country will be far too concerned with being objective (IOW, not offensive to shitty people) to allow that sort of opinion regarding Santorum to gain traction.

        And like it or not, liberals tend to be aloof when it comes to opinions like Santorum’s. They tend denigrate and dismiss rather than engage, which I understand since Santorum seems insane to me, but it isn’t exactly the most motivating attitude to take (unless you are on the side that is getting dismissed).

  • DrDick

    I think that this comes down to how badly do the Republicans want to lose the election. All the evidence indicates that, barring unforeseen events, they lose regardless. How badly depends on whether the pick Romney, who could make it close,or go with the notRomenys, who get slaughtered. There is a perverse part of me that hopes Santorum gets nominated, as he will be like a lamb to slaughter. The “base” (boy are they well named) seems to be going for ideological purity (i.e., insane and stupid) over can possibly get elected in a national election.

    • Malaclypse

      I’m just terrified that the narrative would somehow be that Santorum lost because he was not conservative enough. Après Santorum le déluge.

      • DrDick

        Given the nature of the base and “movement conservatism”, that is a credible concern. If they were even slightly sane, this would drive the GOP back toward moderation, but I do not expect that.

      • Njorl

        Let Santorum be Santorum!

        • Njorl

          …which, while silly, makes more sense than “Let Romney be Romney.”

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  • shah8

    Is anyone thinking of the downticket consequences of a Santorum run?

    • -dg

      Is anyone thinking of the downticket consequences of a Santorum run?

      Are you suggesting it might show up on the coattails?

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