It's down to two: Santorum and Romney - image griperbalde.blogspot.com
One of the latest articles on the likely outcome of the Illinois GOP primary comes from the Des Moines Iowa Register. The title” Illinois next big GOP presidential battleground”, suggests that the most recent polling data available, a Chicago Tribune Poll, which shows Romney leading Santorum outside the margin of error by one point, with Gingrich and Ron Paul barely registering, is at this point anyone’s game. The fact that the state is divided by GOP population and candidate preference is what makes this race difficult to call with 50% of the more moderate GOP voters in the Chicago area and suburbs, and 50% of the more conservatives holding the rest of the state. In addition, as in other recent polls such as Mississippi and Alabama which suggested Rick Santorum would finish 3rd, 46% of the voters, as of March 11th, were likely to change their minds before the primary: with the current polls showing:
“And the poll showed Romney is doing well in the suburbs. In Cook County, he leads Santorum 39 percent to 30 percent. In the more heavily Republican collar counties, Romney held a 39 percent to 27 percent edge.
But Santorum holds a 35 percent to 29 percent advantage in the 96 counties outside the Chicago area, where Republican voters tend to be more conservative.
The article goes on to note that the findings mirror the polling in Ohio, where Romney eked out a lead, however, in Ohio Polling, Gingrich had a slightly larger share of support at 15% (PPP) with actual results Romney, 37.9, Santorum, 37.1 and Gingrich 3rd at 14.6 (Google News). In the days leading up to the Ohio primary, Romney had split the momentum by squeaking out a lead in Michigan over Santorum, a state Romney was expected to win handily.
After the two poll-stunning victories in Mississippi and Alabama, Santorum now has an opportunity to upend Romney in Illinois – In the Tribune Poll Gingrich is at 12%, 2 points below his Ohio average. In addition, this poll was taken prior to the Santorum wins in Mississippi and Alabama, with 46% of those respondents able to have a change of heart, so to speak – this could turn into yet another surprise for Santorum going into Tuesday Race.
Romney’s PAC, is throwing its heavy handed advertising at Santorum in the Chicago Market, spending millions on negative advertising, once again, in a pattern that has become synonymous with Romney’s style. That style apparently did not pan out well for Romney in the South last weekend, so it may come as no surprise, that they are spending in a market they are sure they have votes, rather than 96% of the state where they are pretty certain they don’t. Los Angels Times
Should one candidate win 50% of the State’s voters that candidate will take all delegates, otherwise the delegates are proportioned by wins, one must have 15% of the vote in order to qualify for any delegates. What appears to have happened here is that Gingrich and Paul will have no share of delegates if they place near or below the poll latest poll numbers.
Missouri goes to the polls this weekend, where Rick Santorum is heading for a repeat win in the Show Me State, Puerto Rico is also in play, as Santorum is leaving no stone unturned – although no hard polling data is available, Puerto Rico Media suggests that Romney will have a battle on his hands with Santorum. Santorum is appealing to the conservative base, and with his recent meeting with the Governor, who endorsed Romney, he may give Romney a run for his money (or his PAC’s money). That said, according to WAPA.TV Puerto Rico a new alliance formed in Chicago last week, made up of Puerto Rican Youth for Obama, is pushing against Rick Santorum, not Romney – the newscast shown, suggests that Romney will do well with the establishment GOP, however, Santorum will do better with the broader base of Conservatives on the Island. Santorum has had previous ties to the Island, when in the Senate, and worked closely with the Governor of Puerto Rico shoring up the base.
Therefore, what we are looking at is a not so remote possibility that Santorum may, once again, deny the polls and win the state of Illinois Outright, (with 46% of the voters likely to change their minds, and Romney’s eventual nomination now in question, as well as his ability to win in the south, which is critical to a general election. Those voters in Illinois, and one suspects elsewhere, are, according to polling done in the Register, gravitating towards Santorum. He may also end up taking delegates from Romney in Puerto Rico – and the road to the nomination is looking more competitive for Santorum as times goes by. It is not improbable and growing increasingly conceivable, that between now and June, Santorum, who’s ground came is the rival of all campaigns, and is the candidate with momentum on his side, can reach the 1144 delegates necessary to win the nomination. Of note, Romney’s strategy now appears to be winning delegates, that strategy is similar in scope to the man in the 4th position, Ron Paul.