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Sunday, Apr 20, 2014

Where Will Voters Go If Santorum or Gingrich Drops Out?

  • (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
    Republican presidential candidates (L-R) former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich pose prior to a Republican presidential candidates debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, January 16, 2012.
January 19, 2012|5:42 pm

Some have suggested that if Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum were to drop out of the presidential race, their supporters would combine to provide the votes needed defeat Mitt Romney. Polling suggests this is not necessarily the case.

A recent poll in South Carolina suggests that a significant number of Gingrich supporters would back Romney if Gingrich left the race, or if Santorum left the race a significant number of his supporters would also back Romney.

Both Gingrich, former speaker of the House, and Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, have gained strong support from social conservatives. The common wisdom has been that if one of those two dropped out, their supporters would join forces against Romney.

Last Saturday, a group of 150 evangelical and conservative leaders met in Texas to decide whether they should throw their united support behind a single candidate. They took a poll and after the first ballot Gingrich and Santorum emerged as the two favorites among the group. A third ballot decided that a supermajority would back Santorum.

Santorum supporters have likely encouraged Gingrich to leave the race so that Santorum would have a better chance to win the nomination.

In recent South Carolina polls, Gingrich is leading, tied with or closely behind Romney. Based upon these numbers, Gingrich supporters are encouraging Santorum to leave the race so that Gingrich would have a better chance to win the nomination. Gingrich himself made this suggestion early this week.

A recent poll commissioned by Politico and conducted by The Tarrance Group, Inc. on Tuesday and Wednesday asked 600 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters who they would vote for as their second choice.

Among Gingrich supporters, 30 percent would support Romney as their second choice and 34 percent would support Santorum as their second choice, which is a statistical tie after taking the 4.1 percentage point margin of error into account (see table).

Among Santorum supporters, Gingrich receives a plurality, 34 percent, of second place votes, but a significant number of them, 24 percent, would likely vote for Romney if Santorum dropped out.

The results of this poll should also be considered, however, in light of the significant events that have taken place in the race since the poll was taken.

In Tuesday night's Fox News debate, Romney fumbled through an answer to a question about whether he would release his tax records. He then later revealed that he only paid about 15 percent of his income in taxes and has money in an offshore account.

Texas Governor Rick Perry (another candidate with social conservative credentials) was polling in the low single digits and withdrew from the race Thursday morning. He endorsed Gingrich.

ABC News will air an interview with Gingrich's ex-wife, Marianne, Thursday night. She reveals in that interview that Gingrich had asked for an "open marriage" so he could continue having an affair with Callista, his current wife.

The Iowa Republican Party conducted a recount of the Iowa caucus results and revealed that Santorum, not Romney, actually won, albeit by only 34 votes.

And, there will be another debate Thursday night, hosted by CNN.

It is too early to tell how much, if any, these events will change the minds of South Carolina voters.

Neither Santorum nor Gingrich have shown any signs of exiting the race. The Gingrich campaign has been buoyed by rising poll numbers and a strong debate performance Tuesday night. Plus, the Santorum campaign has already bought ads in Florida and Santorum has said he will compete in Florida no matter what happens at the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

Contact: napp.nazworth@christianpost.com
Source URL : http://www.christianpost.com/news/where-will-voters-go-if-santorum-or-gingrich-drops-out-67551/