Is the Santorum Surge Over?

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  • Rick Santorum
    (Photo: REUTERS/Harrison McClary)
    Republican presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum speaks to supporters during an event at the Curb Center on Belmont University's campus in Nashville, Tennessee February 29, 2012, a few days prior to Super Tuesday voting on March 6, 2012.
By Napp Nazworth, Christian Post Reporter
March 5, 2012|3:09 pm

Recent polls suggest that presidential candidate Rick Santorum could lose in both the Ohio and Tennessee primaries Tuesday to rival Mitt Romney. The losses would represent a major setback for the candidate who led in Ohio, Tennessee and national polls just a few weeks ago.

Five separate polls released Monday show Romney and Santorum in a tight race in Ohio. Three of the polls show Romney leading while two of the polls show Santorum leading. American Research Group shows Romney with the biggest advantage (35 to 28 percent). Suffolk University shows Santorum with the biggest advantage (37 to 33 percent). All five polls show Newt Gingrich in third place with 13 to 18 percent, and Ron Paul in last place with eight to 13 percent.

A recent poll in Tennessee, conducted by We Ask America, reveals a three-way tie between Gingrich, Romney and Santorum.

Ohio and Tennessee are two of the 10 "Super Tuesday" states. Santorum has also campaigned in Oklahoma, another Super Tuesday state, but there is no polling data for that contest.

A Rasmussen Reports poll conducted in Ohio mid-February showed Santorum ahead by 18 percentage points (42 to 24 percent). And according to a Tennessean/Vanderbilt University poll conducted late February, Santorum had an 18 percentage point lead (38 to 20 percent) in Tennessee.

Santorum's steep drop in the polls is widely seen as the result of his own verbal gaffes. He said that President John F. Kennedy's 1960 speech about his Catholic faith made him want to "throw up," and he accused President Barack Obama of being a "snob."

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The Santorum campaign is also suffering from a lack of organization. He failed to get on the ballot in Virginia and in Ohio he failed to file for up to 18 of Ohio's 66 delegates.

National Review's Robert Costa cited several veteran campaign consultants Monday who believe that Ohio is a must-win for the Santorum campaign to continue.

"If he wins Ohio, the race keeps going; it becomes a delegate battle," Steve Schmidt, a strategist for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, said. "But if Romney wins, the Santorum campaign's best days are almost certainly in the rearview mirror."

Romney and Santorum are both campaigning in Ohio Monday. Santorum will hold his election night party in Steubenville, Ohio, a town close to the border with his home state of Pennsylvania. Romney will return to his home state Tuesday to vote in that state's primary and hold his election night party in Boston.

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com, @NappNazworth (Twitter)
 

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