Gallup shows Romney, Santorum within MOE of Obama

posted at 11:00 am on February 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

At least so far, Gallup keeps giving Rick Santorum good news on the electability issue.  In their latest poll, both Santorum and Mitt Romney fall within the margin of error against Barack Obama, and Romney actually bests Obama slightly [see update]:

U.S. registered voters are closely divided in their 2012 presidential election preferences between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and between Obama and Rick Santorum. Romney is slightly ahead of Obama, 50% to 46%, while Obama edges Santorum, 49% to 48%, but neither of these differences is statistically significant.

Santorum and Romney are the current leaders in the volatile Republican primary race. In Gallup Daily tracking conducted Feb. 17-21, 35% of Republican voters nationwide support Santorum, compared with 27% for Romney, 15% for Newt Gingrich, and 10% for Ron Paul.

Santorum’s competitive position against Obama in the Feb. 16-19 data represents an improvement compared with interviewing conducted Jan. 27-28, when Obama led Santorum by eight percentage points, 51% to 43%. At that time, Santorum was still trailing both Romney and Gingrich in Gallup’s tracking of Republican preferences for their party’s nomination. After his Feb. 7 wins in Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri, Santorum surged to a 10-point lead over Romney. He continues to lead the race among Republicans nationally, and may now be more competitive with Obama among all U.S. voters as a result.

Santorum’s numbers are moving up, while Romney’s remain relatively stable.  That is good news for both Republicans, but bad news for Obama.  While Republicans fight each other, Obama’s stature should give him more of a lead over the GOP pack.  Instead, Obama can’t get to 50% against a split field, which portends a very tough re-election campaign once Republicans settle on the nominee.

Santorum got more good news out of Michigan today, albeit qualified.  The new Detroit Free Press-WXYZ poll in the state shows Santorum with a narrow three-point lead over Romney, but that’s a decline from earlier polls in Michigan:

A week of personal appearances, newspaper op-eds, robocalls and television ads has brought Mitt Romney back within striking distance of national frontrunner Rick Santorum in Michigan’s Republican presidential primary, but with six days to go Santorum’s upstart campaign remains on the verge of what could be a defining victory in Romney’s birth state, a Detroit Free Press-WXYZ-TV poll shows. …

Santorum continues to show strength, as the conservative base rallies around him: Among self-described conservatives, he leads Romney 46% to 27% (Romney leads among the much-smaller bloc of moderate voters 51% to 17%.) Men favor Santorum 41% to 29% for Romney, and Santorum has built up double-digit leads over Romney in the western and central parts of the state.

Romney has a double-digit lead in Detroit, which is something to watch on Tuesday night when returns start to come in.  If the race remains this close, though, it may not matter as much as one would think.  Michigan allocates its 30 delegates on a proportional basis, 28 on how their Congressional districts vote.  It may be possible for one of the candidates to win more delegates even if they narrowly lose the overall popular vote, or to break even on delegates.  The psychological impact of the win on the following Super Tuesday races is what will be most important, but Santorum might end up benefiting from a split decision.

Arizona, however, is winner-take-all.  So far, Romney seems in control of the Arizona primary, and it may be that a split decision in Michigan will make the Arizona contest that much more meaningful on Super Tuesday.

Update: I misread the Gallup results of the head-to-head between Romney and Obama.  Romney’s ahead by 4 (still within the MOE).  I’ve corrected the opening paragraph and apologize for the error.  Thanks to Jon A for pointing it out to me.


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Michigan is all-important. Even if Romney wins Arizona smashingly, the MSM will kill him if he doesn’t win a majority of delegates AND the popular vote in Michigan.
rockmom on February 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

Another false narrative by the opponents of the most qualified person to run for the Presidency in 200 years. Mitt hasn’t lived in Michigan in 47 years. He needs to be perfect just to be acceptable in the Party of Stupid. The others just average, especially if they can get off a good shot against Obama and the media as Newt did yesterday.

Basilsbest on February 23, 2012 at 12:48 PM

Self parody is always fun.

tom on February 23, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Mitt’s waterloo will be Michigan if he loses…He as assured victory in Colorado, and lost big…if he loses another “sure bet”, it’s not just the state, it’s the pattern…

right2bright on February 23, 2012 at 1:20 PM

RVs +4…wonder what LVs looks like with a proper weighting. obama is -8; maybe more. and rove and crossroads ahsnt even started. this really isnt going to be a contest. everyone needs to relax.

t8stlikchkn on February 23, 2012 at 3:10 PM

Heh, near 50% like Obama, 50% like Romney, and 50% like Santorum…. which means they didn’t yet poll the last 50% – the zombie vote, which Axlerod and the Czars have already dug up (Obama’s real shovel-ready jobs) Now it’s just a matter of a little chicken blood and Pelosi or Sibeilus to say few words and Poof -another 51% will arise to vote for Obama.

They’ve already been pre-approved by Soros’s bought and paid for, army of Secretary’s of State.

Don L on February 23, 2012 at 3:23 PM

How can Satorum be within the MOE? Romney is the only one electable. Don’t believe me, just ask the establishment, the atheists and the Obama lites who plan on voting for Obama.

they lie on February 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM

How can Satorum be within the MOE? Romney is the only one electable. Don’t believe me, just ask the establishment, the atheists and the Obama lites who plan on voting for Obama.

they lie on February 23, 2012 at 4:00 PM

The establishment Republicans can really be as dumb as a box of rocks sometimes. They tell a lie so many times (Mitt is “most electable”) that they believe it as gospel right out of the gate.

As usual, the Tea Party has to come in and save the GOP from shooting itself in the forehead. Same as always.

Myron Falwell on February 23, 2012 at 5:57 PM

Michigan is all-important. Even if Romney wins Arizona smashingly, the MSM will kill him if he doesn’t win a majority of delegates AND the popular vote in Michigan.

rockmom on February 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM

You got that right. The polls tightening actually doesn’t surprise me. All the Democrats woke up and are signing up to vote for Mitt.

Last I checked, the polls in Colorado different greatly from the actual returns.

Myron Falwell on February 23, 2012 at 6:05 PM

well there goes the electability argument for Willard

liberal4life on February 23, 2012 at 11:07 AM

Hey Quasimodo! This same line days in a row, on different threads. Don’t hurt yourself!

KOOLAID2 on February 23, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Comment pages: 1 2