It is impossible not to use surge and Santorum in the same headline these days. In this case, it seems totally justified. From PPP, in a new poll from this morning:
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.We've said all along that this primary is hurting Romney, though I still expect his money and organization to win out. But what will Republicans be left with other than unelectable candidates with indefensible right wing positions on health care (including women's health care), nothing to offer on the economy and jobs, and candidates who may well not carry their own states?
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).
Interesting times if you're a Republican. Next move is Romney's as he walks an increasingly fine line between attack dog and acceptable alternative.
Hey, check out what would happen without Gingrich:
Well, you bought the consultants, Mitt. What are they telling you to do now? And are you wondering, Mr. Businessman, since you like firing people that don't deliver, who's next?