Santorum, Romney tied nationally

It's been a long road for Rick Santorum but he's finally made it. Both Gallup's most recent survey and the Pew poll both out today show Santorum in a virtual tie with Romney nationwide.


Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are now statistically tied for the lead in Republican registered voters' preferences for the 2012 GOP nomination -- 32% to 30%, respectively. Newt Gingrich, who led the field as recently as late January, is now third, favored by 16%, while Ron Paul's support has dwindled to 8%, the lowest level yet seen for him in 2012.

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking from Feb. 8-12 -- the first Gallup tracking period conducted wholly after Santorum's sweep of the Feb. 7 state nominating contests.

Santorum's 14-point surge in support since just before Feb. 7, from 16% to 30%, appears to have come at the expense of all of his major opponents. Support for Romney and Gingrich has declined by five and six percentage points, respectively, over the same period, and support for Paul, by three points. The percentage unsure has increased slightly, from 11% to 13%.

The Pew result has Santorum ahead of Romney 30-28.

Meanwhile, PPP shows surprising strength for Santorum in Romney's home state of Michigan:

Rick Santorum's taken a large lead in Michigan's upcoming Republican primary. He's at 39% to 24% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Ron Paul, and 11% for Newt Gingrich.

Santorum's rise is attributable to two major factors: his own personal popularity (a stellar 67/23 favorability) and GOP voters increasingly souring on Gingrich.  Santorum's becoming something closer and closer to a consensus conservative candidate as Gingrich bleeds support.

Santorum's winning an outright majority of the Tea Party vote with 53% to 22% for Romney and 10% for Gingrich. He comes close to one with Evangelicals as well at 48% to 20% for Romney and 12% for Gingrich. And he cracks the 50% line with voters identifying as 'very conservative' at 51% to 20% for Romney and 10% for Gingrich.

Santorum's benefiting from the open nature of Michigan's primary as well. He's only up by 12 points with actual Republican voters, but he has a 40-21 advantage with the Democrats and independents planning to vote that pushes his overall lead up to 15 points. Santorum is winning by a healthy margin in every region of the state except for Oakland County, where Romney has a 40-26 advantage, and the area around Lansing where Paul actually has an advantage at 30% to 27% for both Romney and Santorum.

This is a double dose of bad news for Romney. Not only is he losing in the state in which he was born, but he is losing those crucial blue collar independents and Democrats. This is the old Reagan coalition emerging for Santorum - conservative dems and independents, evangelicals, main street Republicans and libertarians - and if he can refashion it, he has a decent shot to unseat Obama.

The drawback for Santorum is the demographics of the country have changed in the last 30 years. America is browner, less Middle Class, more liberal on some social issues, and the youth tilts strongly to the dems. Obama is going to ensure that every last one of his supporters will get to the polls. That's the advantage of raising a billion dollars and the GOP will be hard pressed to compete.

If you experience technical problems, please write to