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Can Santorum Run His Record to 3-0 in the Midwest?

…and will Romney’s go to 0-3?

3:18 PM, Feb 7, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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If the 2012 presidential election is close, which by all accounts it will be, the outcome will likely be decided by 13 states. Of those 13 states (combining for 162 electoral votes), six (combining for 81 electoral votes) are located at least partially in the Midwest, making that the most important region in determining the next president. 

Newt Rick

Rick Santorum has already won the Iowa caucuses, and today he’ll try to add victories in the Missouri primary and the Minnesota caucuses. If he can win in at least one of those states, he’ll run his record in the Midwest to an impressive 2-1.  If he can win in both states, he’ll run it to 3-0 — thereby sending a clear signal that, in the most important electoral region in the country, he’s the preferred choice of Republican primary and caucus voters.

The GOP candidates’ net favorability ratings in two recent PPP surveys give Santorum reason to have confidence in his appeal in these two Midwestern states.  In Missouri, PPP shows Santorum with a net favorability rating of +55 percent (72 to 17 percent) among prospective primary voters — compared to +9 percent for Newt Gingrich (48 to 39 percent), +7 percent for Mitt Romney (47 to 40 percent), and minus-6 percent for Ron Paul (41 to 47 percent).  In Minnesota, PPP shows Santorum with a net favorability rating of +57 percent (74 to 17 percent), compared to +10 for Paul (49 to 39 percent) and +7 for both Gingrich (47 to 40 percent) and Romney (48 to 41 percent).

As these eye-opening numbers suggest, it may be that the only thing Santorum needs in order to catch fire is greater belief on the part of Republican voters that he can actually win the nomination and defeat President Obama. A win or two today, coupled with recent polling showing him doing better than any other GOP candidate versus Obama, would surely help fuel that belief.

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