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Two weeks ago, Rick Santorum shocked Mitt Romney to the core by sweeping Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado. Then a few days later, Romney's victory in Maine turned out to be not much of a victory, as the state GOP botched the whole affair.

Now we are a week out from big contests in Michigan and Arizona. Not big because of number of delegates, but big because of perception and momentum.

For Romney, he's got one short week left to chip away at Santorum and regain the upper hand. For Santorum, he's got one long week to withstand the assault of Romney's Super PAC and hold on to his leads.

As of today, Santorum retains the upper hand.

Gallup Daily Tracking poll

Santorum 36
Romney 26
Gingrich 13
Paul 11

Check out the trendlines: Santorum is the green line, Romney black and Gingrich orange.
Gallup trendlines chart
Some interesting data points:
  • The last time Romney trailed by double digits in the Gallup tracker was 12/7-11 (when Gingrich led 33-23). Even during the post-South Carolina Gingrich boomlet in January, Gingrich only got +8 on Romney.
  • Since Gallup started tracking the GOP race, Romney's average has been 28.4 percent. The Not-Romney's have averaged 42.2 percent. Today, it's Romney 26, Not-Romney's 49. That 23-point gap is the worst since before Christmas, and signals Romney's weakening position.
  • Twelve days ago, Romney hit his high-water mark with 37 percent of the vote. His 26 today mark a dramatic 11-point drop in less than two weeks. Meanwhile, in the same time period, Santorum has gone up a shocking 20 points, from 16 to 36.
  • No Republican has busted through the 37 percent ceiling.

Fresh polling shows that Romney's assault is having an effect in Michigan, where Santorum's lead has shrunk significantly. On the other hand, like whack-a-mole, Arizona suddenly looks less safe for Romney.

The race is volatile. If that Gallup chart tells us anything, it's that the GOP electorate really has no clue who they like, so they'll jump back and forth between the candidates hoping something eventually sticks.

A week has been an eternity in this race, and it will certainly feel that way to Santorum as he tries to run out the clock in Michigan. Except in Arizona, where the dynamics are exactly reversed.

Originally posted to kos on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:49 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for no longer promoting crossover voting. (5+ / 0-)

    I also thank the myriad posters who pointed out that it seems like a very bad idea, especially when it's not that much a choice (we have evil vs. evil).

    Looks like I'll be camped out here for the next ten months, at least.

  •  If only. Romney would be no stronger than a Dole (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, ColoTim, drmah

    or a McCain, but, in many ways, he at least resembles a real candidate. If Santorum ever made it to the general, wow, would the wheels ever fall off.

    There can be no protection locally if we're content to ignore the fact that there are no controls globally.

    by oldpotsmuggler on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:57:29 AM PST

  •  That's it, time to exhume Reagan and put a zombie (7+ / 0-)

    on the ticket. He's about the only person (dead or alive) that can unite the Republican party. Someone should run a poll on whether Obama would beat a Reagan zombie. I bet Reagan would lose by smaller margins than Santorum or Romney Doodle Dandy.

    "What profit a man, if he gain the world, but has to pay taxes on it?" Paul 8:36

    From the Gospel of St. Ron Paul in the Teachings and Misunderstandings of the Words of Adam Smith

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:58:59 AM PST

  •  I'm kinda hoping for an exact tie in MI and AZ. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemSign, ColoTim, Siri

    Then I can read more statements like this (from yesterday) from Fox News "reporters":

    Romney has been the presumptive frontrunner throughout the seemingly interminable campaign season

    Proud to be a Truth Vigilante

    by Calvino Partigiani on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 10:59:57 AM PST

  •  Feb 28: The battle for momentum (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, Siri, drmah

    Whatever happens on Feb 28 will have a huge impact on Super Tuesday.  Even if Santorum loses both, but by small margins, it still signals huge problems for Romney.  When will Gingrich get out?  His supporters might actually go over more to Rick than Mitt and hammer that final nail into the coffin.

    To Hell isn't where this country is headed, that is where it is coming from.

    by Mote Dai on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:02:00 AM PST

  •  From what I am hearing (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, rmabelis, duha, Siri, drmah, Seneca Doane

    and seeing, I believe rMoney will pull it out in MI.

    The number of Dems voting in the R primary will be relatively small, too minimal to make a difference.

    Santorum may well win in mid and west MI, but SE will go for rMoney. In my conversations with Rs lately, they seem very subdued, unsure, and apathetic. I expect turnout to be very low.

    Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

    by memiller on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:03:22 AM PST

    •  same experience I have in midMI. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      memiller, ColoTim, Siri

      I agree. State workers around here don't like mitten much because of his vociferous disdain for public employee unions and they aren't fundies so there's not a lot for them to do except support paul and wait for Nov.  The rural areas around here are all fundie, though. It's gonna be close, but I think santorum wins it because of the paul support.

      A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' Douglas Adams

      by dougymi on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:12:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It seems like low turnout would favor Santorum (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      memiller, Siri

      no? His followers appear more motivated than Romney's.

      In America, a rising tide lifts all yachts and drowns the workers who built them.

      by DaveW on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:26:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You may be right on general principles, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim, Siri

        usually the more extreme candidate has more motivated voters ... but Santorum shot up so quickly that I wonder if some of that support is not just because he was the 'not-rMoney' of the week (and the last one left!), rather than that those supporters were ideologically close to Santorum? In which case, they might well stay home.

        I'm not sure, this is all speculation on my part based on a handful of conversations. What I think I can say for sure is, most MI Republicans are not in a happy place right now, in spite of having a starring role in their nominating process.

        Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

        by memiller on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:43:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  turnout hard to predict (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Siri, Bruorton

      Two conflicting drivers: (1) close race and national media hype should push every regular Republican voter to show up, (2) the candidates truly suck.  If too many Romney 'supporters' count on others to show up, then turnout could be low and skewed... close to 50% evangelicals like the first PPP poll showed.  More likely Romney will squeak out a 2% victory in moderate turnout, as SE Mich republicans are driven to participate bc they know doom awaits Mittens if he loses.

    •  Wait, wouldn't "very low" turnout (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      memiller

      mean that any Dems voting will be significant?

      •  I thought of this as I was writing it. (0+ / 0-)

        Yes, as turnout goes down, the effect of any Dem crossover becomes greater. But I am saying that crossover will be an order of magnitude lower than even a depressed R vote, and divided between the candidates -- some voting Santorum as the weakest candidate in Nov, some voting Romney as the safest if he happens to win, even a few voting Paul for his anti-war stance. Thus unlikely to affect anything.

        Mark E. Miller // Kalamazoo Township Trustee // MI 6th District Democratic Chair

        by memiller on Tue Feb 21, 2012 at 08:34:52 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  GOP primary race looks like an episode of MTV's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rmabelis, annieli, ColoTim, Siri

    The Jersey Shore i.e Trainwreck

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:04:48 AM PST

  •  GOP starting to grasp that they are up shit creek (8+ / 0-)

    without a viable candidate.  Top thread at Fox Nation right now: "Will There Be Another GOP Candidate?"

    LOL!

    Republicans take care of big money, for big money takes care of them ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:06:31 AM PST

  •  I'm sure the 26th GOP primary debate on Wednesday (8+ / 0-)

    will finally sort the wheat from the chaff and energize more to actually go vote.

    Yeah, that's the ticket.  ( bwahahahahaha )

    "There's nothing in the dark that's not there when the lights are on" ~ Rod Serling

    by jwinIL14 on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:08:52 AM PST

  •  Mitt Romney's spokesperson just spoke about (0+ / 0-)

    Obama's radical islamic agenda.
    Misspeak, maybe, but ....

    Oh, come on.

  •  gotta say two things: (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pamelabrown, askew, vcmvo2, Siri, Asak, PorridgeGun

    1) gallup has been pretty sucky lately. not sure what's going on with their methodology but whenever I hear Gallup, I not longer feel as if they are the "definitive" trusted pollster.

    2) at what point do people stop saying "Romney will be the eventual nominee"?  If he keeps losing and can;t find momentum, maybe he won't be. I'm just not sure what's working in his favor right now. Money and organization are the go to answers but I'm not sure i'm seeing an effect. (and the PPP poll is unconvincing since their previous poll seemed to be an outlier).

    I've become re-radicalized. Thanks a lot you bunch of oligarchical fascist sons-of-bitches. But once again, I have no choice. Bring it the fuck on.

    by mdmslle on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:10:48 AM PST

    •  Agree about Gallup, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mdmslle, Siri

      IMO, they need some scrutiny just like the Komen Foundation.  My shit detectors have been off the charts haywire re: Gallup.

    •  Unless Romney loses MI (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, Siri

      and has a horrible day on Super Tuesday, he's clearly the frontrunner.  That's why he's the eventual nominee right now.

      I like Michelle more than Barack.

      by duha on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:27:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  People keep parroting the "inevitable" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      maryabein, Siri, PorridgeGun

      line because that's what makes the MSM comfortable. They've been saying it for so long that it hurts to start thinking some other way. Plus it might make people think they're not actually that smart.

      In America, a rising tide lifts all yachts and drowns the workers who built them.

      by DaveW on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:29:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Once more of the big states start getting decided (0+ / 0-)

      we'll see who the front-runner is.  Santorum still has pretty much no campaign structure and he's still far down on the money list (I know he's surging and he's got his billionaire backer for his SPAC).  Money and organization will make a huge difference in the larger states.  Florida is the only one to be decided so far; Super Tuesday will be very important as a make/break day for Santorum.  Rmoney is in it to the end, no matter what.

    •  I'm starting to question Romney's inevitability. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PorridgeGun

      The FP'ers at DKos have been beating the Romney inevitability dead horse for a couple months now.  It was supposed to be all over after Florida, and then Santorum won the next contests.  

      I think we may now be approaching the point where people don't want to admit they were wrong to be so confident about Romney's inevitability.  He has money and organization, but no one likes him.  

      You can't win if people flat out don't like you, or believe what you stand for.  It doesn't matter how much money you have.  

      If all that decided elections was money then we'd have had a Republican president and Congress for the past century.  

  •  I hate to say it, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, historys mysteries

    but I said last year that the GOP clown show which was only sure to get worse this year would trot out the most horrendous putative candidates that they could dredge up.  And, ladies and germs, what do we have?

    Mitt Romney - believe it or don't, a Mormon will never legitimately be elected as POTUS

    Rick Santorum - too crazy even for moderate crazies

    Newtie - too corrupt to risk a national campaign -- Pelosi specifically said she had the dirt and would use it

    Rick Perry - LOL

    Herman Whatsisname - LOL

    So... who on EARTH can save the GOP in 2012?

    http://www.mediaite.com/...

    Yep, Jebbie.

    I hope to fuck all I'm wrong but I thinks there will be another Bush running in 2012 and like 2004, they will STEAL it for him.

    Remember, because of the goofy electoral system in this country, it only takes THREE, yes, THREE (3) swing states to win.

    The Bushes can easily steal it again and no one will do jack shit about it, as usual.

    But take heart, Obama has ruled so far to the right that Bush will seem comparable to him, and far, far to the left of the remaining crazies in the GOP.

    Again, hope I'm RONG RONG RONG.

  •  I think the short-term solution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle

    issolution is going to be a rather uncomfortable pairing of Romney and Santorum, without any prediction of who's on top. After this awkward ticket loses badly, the longer term solution will be changes to GOP rules that make up elected delegates much more powerful in order to make the establishment candidate less compelled to pander to the fringe.

    Fructose is a liver poison. Stop eating it today.

    by Anne Elk on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:11:56 AM PST

  •  They don't like Romney (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    vcmvo2, Siri, Asak

    Republican voters may not know who they do like but they don't like Romney. He is still around the same 25% he had last August. This is the bad sign for him. He just doesn't pick up support as others drop out of the race.

  •  The GOP electorate (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mdmslle, fou, SteveIndy, ColoTim, a2nite

    seems so confused and desperate. They're finally starting to realize that the best representatives of their party (a man to whom average people are utterly alien and a fundie Catholic that scares even Catholics) are simply not electable.

    Authoritarians that they are, TPTB want to circumvent the process and put in a "savior". Problem is, none of their proposed saviors wants anything to do with this clusterf*#$. They'd be immediately torn to shreds.

    I am enjoying this immensely. Is that wrong?

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam "Compassion is the radicalism of our time." ~ Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama -7.88, -6.21

    by Siri on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:15:39 AM PST

  •  Brokered convention & cometh Jeb! the Red Heifer (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Siri, a2nite, drmah
    The event of burning a new heifer for its ashes, which did not occur too frequently, was an occasion of tremendous significance for the entire nation. Because of this ordinance's unique status, special precautions were taken and some unusual procedures were employed, during the process of the heifer's preparation. Especially stringent measures were taken to ensure that the priest who would be burning the heifer would not become impure.

    dangerous voter for a "dangerous president"; Präsidentenelf-maßschach; Warning-Some Snark Above"Nous sommes un groupuscule" (-9.50; -7.03) "Sciant terra viam monstrare."

    by annieli on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:21:11 AM PST

  •  The race becomes much more diagnostic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    indie17, Siri, historys mysteries, a2nite

    for the GOP with Santorum's all-out leap into crazyland. So far his certifiably insane claims that Obama is a radical Islamist, that birth control should be banned, and on and on and on, don't seem to be hurting him. Quite the contrary. Next week will give us a pretty significant read on whether the GOP is willing to follow him into radical loonyland, even at the cost of an electoral blowout for the Dems.

    If Rick does keep his lead it will be the first time in modern history that anyone with such a radical line has ever been nominated for president by a major political party. Even the likes of Nixon, Reagan, and Bush managed to color mostly within the lines. Next week could mark the beginning of the end of any claim that America is anything like "one nation". We live in interesting times indeed.

    In America, a rising tide lifts all yachts and drowns the workers who built them.

    by DaveW on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:21:21 AM PST

    •  No, the other radicals were liars. The current (0+ / 0-)

      bunch are being honest, at least more honest than W ever was.

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:43:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wherever Romney fails to spend big on TV (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Siri, PorridgeGun

    he seems to be losing big, except in New England, where he barely won Maine and will probably win in Mass. and Vt. coming up.  It will be interesting to see if he cedes Washington to Santorum, as TV ads won't work  that well in a caucus state.  Washington votes 3 days before Super Tuesday, so that looks to be a nice bit of free media for Santorum on the schedule.  Interesting call by Romney campaign: does he spend on TV to try to keep margin close in Washington, or does he ignore it and try to minimize the attention the media gives it?

  •  Latest PPP tweet (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    askew, nieman, vcmvo2, Siri

    "In Washington state Santorum's favorability is 69/18, Romney's is 47/42. Similar to the divides we saw in Minnesota and Missouri"

    If the caucuses are poorly enough attended, I could see him coming in behind both Santorum and Paul.

  •  Paypal (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, Siri, a2nite, askew

    Just heard on MSNBC Paypal founder Peter Thiel donated another $1.7 million to Ron Paul's super pac.  

  •  Looks like brokered convention and Jeb Bush (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, drmah

    Which should worry Obama a lot as Jeb Bush unites the corporate and religious wings of the GOP and in a year when voters are mad at incumbents in general and Obama in particular and where Obama has alienated his 2008 base leaving himself in a weak political position.

  •  The circular-firing-squad is forming... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Siri, a2nite

    ...with a few more gop primaries and all the existing gop presidential hopefuls will be casualties of who can bury the other guy with the most crap and corruption whilst keeping ones own head above the rising bullshit.  Maybe what some on this site have suggested...that the GOP will have a "brokered convention" presidential candidate.  But at the rate the election-nerring blather is running to the extreme right...the only "qualified" candidates remaining might be the pope or a certain cardinal on his staff who just happens to be American born...but then I'm on guessing...which makes my comment just as true if not truer then what many of the existing gop candidates have said they did or did not say was or is not true...at least to their recollection...just saying...snark catagory?

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 11:59:09 AM PST

  •  Is this fill-in-the-blank? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite

    Noticing the empty bullet in the list, I can only assume we're supposed to add our own commentary.

    My vote:  The GOP primary has moved beyond "trainwreck" to "Titanic meets iceberg" in the level of clusterf***ery.

  •  It's all thanks 2 the people who vote 4 Rs (0+ / 0-)

    their evil puppet masters, and especially the senior management. They all created this crap fest. Now they can drown in it. They can go 2 the devil, just don't take us w/them!!!!

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 12:39:21 PM PST

  •  GOP electorate really has no clue who they like (0+ / 0-)

    Actually, the GOP electorate really has no clue about anything. They're collectively a bunch of ignorant Christianist goobers whose acquaintance with reality is tenuous at best.

  •  I just don't understand how you can botch counts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah

    unless you are cheating.

    Strange but not a stranger.

    by jnww on Mon Feb 20, 2012 at 01:29:57 PM PST

  •  At which point is a brokered convention determined (0+ / 0-)

    Is there a specific vote number that dooms this to open floor at the the Repug convention?

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