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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Battlefield Ohio: Santorum Laps Romney in Latest Primary Polls

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2012 at 1:42 PM

“I want to karate chop that stiff back to Bain . . . with your help, Ohio.”
  • “I want to karate chop that stiff back to Bain . . . with your help, Ohio.”

This deep into primary season, about three weeks out from Super Tuesday, the contest for the GOP presidential nomination doesn't so much resemble the pruning Mitt Romney runway walk we'd been told to expect, but more like a backroom dogfight with each snarling pup getting its respective second wind.

The latest Rottweiler on the upswing, former-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, just posted some serious numbers in Ohio, according to the latest messy stew of polling data. Today, Quinnipac University says Santorum not only pulled even with Romney, but shot ahead by 7 points among potential Republican voters. Also, this is probably the only time in his life Rick Santorum has been compared with a Rottweiler. Maybe a basset hound . . . mark this historic occasion.

The breakdown, according to the Columbus Dispatch: the former senator got 36 percent of likely voters, with Romney coming in at 29 percent. Huffing to catch up is New Gingrich with 20 percent and Ron Paul with 9 percent.

This data represents a plot twist: only a couple weeks back, on January 18, Romney led the state with 27 percent, Santorum following with 18 percent. Quinnipiac's Peter Brown's speculates on the importance of today's info in the Dispatch piece:

“For the first time, numerically more voters in Ohio view Romney unfavorably than favorably. His pattern in the earlier primary states has been to use his money advantage to run a large number of negative ads on his biggest challenger. But doing so now risks further increasing Romney’s own unfavorables as a side effect of throwing the mud himself.

Yet, Romney may feel the need to raise questions about the lesser-known Santorum in the eyes of GOP voters.”
Romney is viewed unfavorably by a quarter of Ohio Republicans and nearly a third of tea party members. Santorum gets an unfavorable rating from only 7 percent of GOP voters, and 4 percent of tea partiers.

Nearly half of Republicans say Romney isn’t conservative enough, while just 41 percent say his political views are “just right.” However, 74 percent say Santorum’s views are “just right.”

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