Santorum tops Romney by 15 in new PPP poll

Yes, but can he sustain it?

Riding a wave of momentum from his trio of victories on Tuesday Rick Santorum has opened up a wide lead in PPP's newest national poll. He's at 38% to 23% for Mitt Romney, 17% for Newt Gingrich, and 13% for Ron Paul.

Part of the reason for Santorum's surge is his own high level of popularity. 64% of voters see him favorably to only 22% with a negative one. But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney's favorability is barely above water at 44/43, representing a 23 point net decline from our December national poll when he was +24 (55/31). Gingrich has fallen even further. A 44% plurality of GOP voters now hold a negative opinion of him to only 42% with a positive one. That's a 34 point drop from 2 months ago when he was at +32 (60/28).

Santorum is now completely dominating with several key segments of the electorate, especially the most right leaning parts of the party. With those describing themselves as 'very conservative,' he's now winning a majority of voters at 53% to 20% for Gingrich and 15% for Romney. Santorum gets a majority with Tea Party voters as well at 51% to 24% for Gingrich and 12% for Romney. And with Evangelicals he falls just short of a majority with 45% to 21% for Gingrich and 18% for Romney.
It used to be that Gingrich was leading with all these groups and Romney was staying competitive enough with them to hold the overall lead. No more- a consensus conservative candidate finally seems to be emerging and it's Santorum.

Where the GOP establishment couldn't stand Newt Gingrich, they may come around to supporting Santorum. Rick is a policy wonk of sorts, not a bomb thrower in the Gingrich mold, and holds acceptable positions on taxes, the budget, and the deficit. He appeals to working class Democrats as well as the party's base -- two major areas of concern if the GOP is to win in the fall.

They may not like his strong social conservatism, but the establishment Republicans might swallow hard and accept it if the base shows a lot of enthusiasm for Santorum.

But Romney is hardly finished. And until Santorum can demonstrate his staying power and compete against Romney everywhere, the establishment will not abandon Romney quite yet.


Yes, but can he sustain it?

Riding a wave of momentum from his trio of victories on Tuesday Rick Santorum has opened up a wide lead in PPP's newest national poll. He's at 38% to 23% for Mitt Romney, 17% for Newt Gingrich, and 13% for Ron Paul.

Part of the reason for Santorum's surge is his own high level of popularity. 64% of voters see him favorably to only 22% with a negative one. But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney's favorability is barely above water at 44/43, representing a 23 point net decline from our December national poll when he was +24 (55/31). Gingrich has fallen even further. A 44% plurality of GOP voters now hold a negative opinion of him to only 42% with a positive one. That's a 34 point drop from 2 months ago when he was at +32 (60/28).

Santorum is now completely dominating with several key segments of the electorate, especially the most right leaning parts of the party. With those describing themselves as 'very conservative,' he's now winning a majority of voters at 53% to 20% for Gingrich and 15% for Romney. Santorum gets a majority with Tea Party voters as well at 51% to 24% for Gingrich and 12% for Romney. And with Evangelicals he falls just short of a majority with 45% to 21% for Gingrich and 18% for Romney.
It used to be that Gingrich was leading with all these groups and Romney was staying competitive enough with them to hold the overall lead. No more- a consensus conservative candidate finally seems to be emerging and it's Santorum.

Where the GOP establishment couldn't stand Newt Gingrich, they may come around to supporting Santorum. Rick is a policy wonk of sorts, not a bomb thrower in the Gingrich mold, and holds acceptable positions on taxes, the budget, and the deficit. He appeals to working class Democrats as well as the party's base -- two major areas of concern if the GOP is to win in the fall.

They may not like his strong social conservatism, but the establishment Republicans might swallow hard and accept it if the base shows a lot of enthusiasm for Santorum.

But Romney is hardly finished. And until Santorum can demonstrate his staying power and compete against Romney everywhere, the establishment will not abandon Romney quite yet.


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