Alabama, Mississippi polls show a tight, three way race
Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich are within a few points of one another in both the AL and MS polls in advance of the Tuesday primary.
Rasmussen polled both Mississippi and Alabama and found Newt with 30% support, Santorum with 29%, and Romney with 28% in Alabama while Romney led in Mississippi with 35% followed by Santorum and Gingrich tied with 27%.
Clearly, the lack of a single conservative alternative is giving Romney a boost in both states.
But Mitt has also altered his strategy down south. Politico:
Entering the region as an underdog against Rick Santorum, Romney first deployed his Southern version during a Wednesday afternoon visit to Pascagoula, Miss., blending stump pitches on energy and the military with a shout-out to campaign aide Garrett Jackson, a 2009 Ole Miss grad, who he travels with "more than my wife."
"He's now turning me into an, I don't know, an unofficial Southerner," Romney said in front of several giant oil-drilling rig platforms sitting at the port. "I'm learning to say 'y'all.' I like grits. Things are, strange things, are happening to me."
On cue, Romney kept the Southern shtick going Thursday morning at a town hall-style rally in Jackson, Miss. Standing next to Gov. Phil Bryant, a recent endorser who's from one of the most conservative counties in the state, Romney opened with a local salute.
He's also concentrating on going after Obama rather than his Republican rivals. I'm sure this schtick is offputting to some southerners, but others probably eat it up. That's politics.
And it appears to be working.