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Santorum surge, or mirage?

Santorum surge, or mirage?

PPP polling shows Santorum with a huge surge in support since he won the Minnesota and Colorado caucuses and non-binding Missouri primary, to the point that he leads nationally with 38 percent, to 23% for Romney, 17% for Newt, and 13% for Ron Paul.

Although a surge of this magnitude is not reflected in numerous other polls conducted in recent days, it does seem intuitive that Santorum would gain support as he claims the mantle of leading not-Romney.

This may be a case of PPP being boldly wrong as it was in Florida (where it predicted only a single digit win for Romney), or being ahead of the curve.

Clearly Santorum has momentum.  I would argue that’s because people know very little about him in contrast to Newt and Romney, so he fits the bill of the winnable “true conservative” not-Romney.

But in fact, Santorum is not as conservative as people think, except for his social conservatism, and has a record of putting power in the hands of the federal goverment.  That is the “true conservatism” Santorum stands for, not the conservatism of the Tea Party movement which brought us to victory in 2010.

When Santorum lambasts “radical individualism” he demeans the smaller government movement embodied in the Tea Party movement — keeping government out of our lives is not radical, unless you are a big government conservative/liberal.

We’ll see if the surge is a surge or a mirage, as PPP notes the weakness of Santorum’s support:

Of course if there’s been one constant theme in this GOP race it’s that once you get to the top you tend to start heading back down. Only 48% of voters say they’re solidly committed to their current candidate choice, while 52% say they’re open to changing their minds. Santorum’s support isn’t that solid and when Romney uses his superior resources to pulverize him, we could see this lead evaporate just as quickly as it was built up. But for now there’s been a stunning reversal in the race and Santorum’s your new leader.

If Santorum does not turn mostly caucus wins into wins in big primary states where everyone is competing, I predict a rapid fall back to earth.

Question of the day and next couple of weeks:

What is Santorum’s great political achievement?

In the meantime, Newt says he’s not going anywhere (via Hot Air), nor should he in my view until after Super Tuesday:

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Comments

One more thing to add to your analysis, that I believe is relevant.

Santorum may just be the latest candidate to surge to the top, like so many others before him, but one thing is different. Excepting a late entry or a brokered convention, Santorum is the last candidate. There are no other candidates after him. So being the last “new” candidate to surge, I don’t know that he will be dumped so readily as all the others before him were. We’ll see.

As for being a big government conservative, I think that is already priced into Santorum’s stock, much like Newt’s baggage was with Newt’s rise in SC.

If Santorum is able to win Michigan, I think his surge will be established as being for real, rather than just a quick fad.

    wodiej in reply to Astroman. | February 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Santorum has not even been close to have been vetted. Most people do not know his record in the Senate and it was not conservative.

      StrangernFiction in reply to wodiej. | February 11, 2012 at 12:14 pm

      By this definition there are VERY FEW conservatives in the Senate. Either at the time Santorum served or now. And I probably agree with you if you believe this to be the case. Do you believe this to be the case? I’m curious.

      stevewhitemd in reply to wodiej. | February 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Mr. Santorum is a ‘big government’ conservative along the lines of George W. Bush. That’s not a slur; I liked Dubya though I am not a fan of bigger government. Mr. Santorum believes in using the power of government to accomplish conservative goals (big government) as opposed to getting government out of the way so that people can accomplish their goals themselves (little government).

      Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Santorum are big government conservatives; Mr. Santorum is also much more conservative on social issues. But voters who are ‘little government’ conservatives will be at least modestly unhappy with either man.

      Then again, we have ‘huge, controlling government’ liberals in charge now, so I think either is a decided improvement.

    I agree with you on the simple fact that Santorum is the last candidate available to receive the mantle of frontrunner (am excluding Ron Paul entirely). After him, ABR people would have to rotate back to Gingrich. Otherwise, people drop their republican biases, altogether, and just become “one” with a consolidated mantra of anybody-but-Obama.

    Wouldn’t that be refreshing!

I love the way Newt dismisses the question that he is afraid of Santorum. “No”

A guy that wears sweater vests that look like they don’t fit is not exuding a presidential persona. Santorum is such a bore, not to mention his weird statements about how the Gov’t should “be in the bedroom.”
He is conservative’s vanity candidate and, if chosen, will get so thoroughly trounced by Obama that it should be a wake up call to certain segments of the conservative populous to stop imposing your sanctimonious attitudes and beliefs on other people.

    ncmont in reply to ncmont. | February 11, 2012 at 11:57 am

    And I say this as a fellow Christian. I just know from experience what the stereotype of evangelicals is in this country and have seen very little to dissuade me from believing it.
    Santorum is so cheesy. Americans don’t want a moralizer-in-chief – but this guy thinks gov’t should be in the bedroom because he thinks gay people having sex will lead to man-on-dog sex? Give me a break, conservatives, you will lose me if this guy is the nominee. (AND ALL YOUNG PEOPLE\THE NEXT GENERATION OF VOTERS)

    Astroman in reply to ncmont. | February 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    Hey look, more Obama-approved bashing of social conservatism.

    Now take the insanity of these people. Let’s get government out of the bedroom. Do you realize where that leads, if you are consistent?

    It leads to things like legalizing bestiality. Hey, who are YOU to tell me I can’t sleep with my dog?

    It leads to things like legalizing adult incest. Hey, who are YOU to tell me, as an adult, I can’t sleep with a sibling?

    Oh, but these things will NEVER happen. Just like it will never happen that people will try to redefine marriage as being something other than between a man and a woman. Uh huh. Just like the introduction of gay marriage won’t lead to attempts to redefine marriage further, as including polygamy and group marriage. Oh wait, that is already happening.

    Slippery slope – it is real, and it is THE tool of the left. Just look at how the 9th circus used civil unions to justify gay marriage. Despite the fact people were swearing up and down civil unions was NOT a slippery slope to gay marriage.

    The fact is, there is no bottom to the depths of immorality on the left. Saying it is unacceptable for a community to outlaw sodomy leads us to the state we are in right now.

      Society has the means to deal with stuff like this & (at least I *think*) they used to exercise it.
      What’s become of our spines? The problem, imho, is when society is forced to accept and validate- by law, behaviors that individuals should have the right to shun (actions have consequences) but are coerced by laws couching socially unacceptable behavior as a “right”. Bestiality and pedophilia should be covered by animal abuse laws and age of consent?

      You’re right that it’s a slippery slope, though. It treats us as a collective vs as individuals.

    Same Same in reply to ncmont. | February 11, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    “He is conservative’s vanity candidate”

    No, he is “someone else”. This entire race has been about “someone else.”

    Usually Republicans choose the guy whose turn it is, and Democrats go with “someone else.” This year, with, gag, Romney, nominally in front, conservatives have been looking hard at “someone else.” I think that’s really all that Santorum has going for him. That said, the Dems have proven that “someone else” can win the presidency.

    stevewhitemd in reply to ncmont. | February 11, 2012 at 3:56 pm

    It’s the old political joke of how Republicans want to regulate everything that happens in a bedroom, and Democrats want to regulate everything else.

    Astroman has a point: there have to be some standards. My favorite American philosopher, Ann Landers, had a saying: “when anything goes, eventually everything does.” The trick is to have the right amount of regulation (in and out of the bedroom). We want to leave people alone to live their lives yet we want certain minimum moral standards. We want people to be free to work and invest, succeed or fail, yet we don’t want people starving in the streets.

    It’s a question of balance. I know where Obama draws that line and that’s why I want him out of the White House. I can’t tell yet where Santorum draws it on economic matters, but it’s clear he wants a lot more regulation in the personal lives of people. I don’t think that’s going to sell very well in November.

StrangernFiction | February 11, 2012 at 11:59 am

Mr. Inevitable (aka Mr. severely conservative) with a whopping 16% in a new Georgia poll (Gingrich – 35; Santorum – 26). Yeah, something tells me Mutt ain’t going to do to good in the South. How many counties did he win in southern Missouri, South Carolina, and the true southern part of Florida?

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local-govt-politics/santorum-surges-latest-georgia-poll/nHZc3/

Oh yeah 1 more thing: Newt is the only alpha male left in the bunch. (If you disagree, you probably don’t understand alphaness.) These are the kinds of things voters pick up on subtly and attract them to a candidate. Obama was presented to the nation as an Alpha and he still has a contingent of men who love him even though he’s been exposed as a scrawny, thin-wrist-ed, know-nothing.

    stevewhitemd in reply to ncmont. | February 11, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Great job by Axelrod: he sold Mr. Beta Male as an alpha long enough to get Beta Male elected. Now we see how Beta he really is. The man can’t make a decision and won’t get out in front. Just another reason why Obama has to go.

Santorum was trashing the tea party on video as early as this past summer. It was the tea party that brought the Republican’s win of the House in 2010. It was the tea party that turned states like Pennsylvania red. It was the tea party that brought the silent majority off their couches and out to vote in the biggest Republicans landslide of state government since the 1940’s.

This country was founded on “radical” rugged individualism. We are in a world of hurt right now as a country. And it is going to take everyone working together to pulling us back from the brink. If Santorum wants to trash the people who have been working very hard over the past three years to save this country, then he’s not the guy for the job of President.

This is what I’ve wanted Newt to do for a long time: Hone your message!
Talk about the amazing accomplishments and drop the Bain talk.

I think he’s finally getting it.
I’ve sent the headquarters several emails, and maybe they are actually reading them.

Newt/West 2012

StrangernFiction | February 11, 2012 at 12:08 pm

It’s a surge Professor. I personally prefer Gingrich, but I’m not the average Republican primary voter. Gingrich has a lot of baggage in the eyes of these folks. Our saving grace though, is that they are seeing Romney for the progressive he is.

ANYONE. BUT. MUTT.

And I don’t mean to infer that it was ME who got Newt to focus. I think a lot of people were sending in that suggestion, and the headquarters finally paid attention.

Stay focused and on point, Newt, and you will win.

    I sent my share.

    Newt will soldier through this. He’s the bigger, better man, candidate and leader and in the end this will bear out and carry the day.

Don’t like him personally and he’s done nothing to warrant being the most qualified. He hasn’t even run a lemonade stand. He’s arrogant and self righteous. I’ll take someone like Gingrich who has walked through the fire and come out better because of it than someone like Santorum that thinks he is better than others. His followers think they are too.

    Astroman in reply to wodiej. | February 11, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Wow. Un. Hinged.

    That is what some of you Newt supporters have become.

    Y’all are seriously attacking Santorum because he apparently has a successful marriage and family, and because he takes his God seriously? Just wow.

      stevewhitemd in reply to Astroman. | February 11, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      No, I don’t think that is what is being said.

      I think most Republicans (and independents) respect Santorum (when they hear his story) for his fidelity, his personal beliefs and his faith.

      But indeed, the man has never had executive experience. He’s been a Congressman, a Senator, and a lobbyist. He’s not had to do the work that an executive does in building coalitions, passing budgets, getting things done, and taking responsibility when things go wrong.

      Romney has done that — he has a record one can judge, and many here at LI have (not favorably).

      Gingrich? Sort of; being a Speaker is somewhat executive in that he had to manage the House and the Pub caucus. I’d still prefer that he had some executive experience, but (apparently at LI) is just me.

      Santorum is a good man. I just don’t think he’s presidential.

        Astroman in reply to stevewhitemd. | February 11, 2012 at 9:02 pm

        No, THIS is being said. These are exact quotes:

        “He’s arrogant and self righteous. I’ll take someone like Gingrich who has walked through the fire and come out better because of it than someone like Santorum that thinks he is better than others. His followers think they are too.”

        So don’t tell me Santorum isn’t regularly being denigrated by commenters on this blog for being, as they would derisively call him, “Mr. Holy.”

conservativegram | February 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm

Maybe it’s just me because I’m a Newt supporter, but I get the feeling this morning that Romney supporters are still “attacking” Newt–they’ve just chosen a new game plan. Now I’m almost feeling like Santorum is being shoved down my throat. Several blogs I visit are pushing his speech yesterday and ignoring Newt’s. I guess I can’t explain what I’m feeling very well, maybe many people have given up on Newt and are now on the Santorum train, but the crowd yesterday at CPAC didn’t really give me that impression. I found this article this morning and it left me very wary of polls.
http://ohioright.com/2012/02/10/rasmussen-is-failing-to-answer-why-newt-was-omitted-from-recent-ohio-poll/

Santorum makes a decent case for the social issues. He’s pretty good at finding the parts of the left’s social stances that make them uncomfortable (like that bit at the college where he pointed out that defining marriage in a way to “make people happy” was inconsistant at best and got booed). But his problem is this isn’t a social issues election (at least not yet the last one wasn’t an economic election until Septmember). It’s an economic election with a dash of healthcare (now recast as an economic issue, thanks to Heath Care Reform!) Given American’s broad division on many social issues I’m not sure we’ll ever have room for a social presidental canidate again (at least in the near future). In any case, even if he’s the right canidate it’s the wrong time. (And I’m not sure about the former either).

    Astroman in reply to tsrblke. | February 11, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Actually, Santorum hasn’t been making a big deal about the social issues. He has been focusing on economic matters.

    It is only people like you and Obama who fixate on him for being a social conservative. Funny, it is never a “good time” for social conservatism. Not even when government is running over religious and more general freedoms by pushing through gay marriage and contraception.

The biggest loser in this entire fiasco is Tim Pawlenty.

No Fear! Go Newt!

conservativegram | February 11, 2012 at 12:48 pm

One more thing about Santorum. I wasn’t aware until this morning that he won’t be included on the ballot in 3 districts in Ohio. He missed out on Indiana, Virginia and 3 districts in Ohio. So if everyone gets behind Rick instead of Newt and then Rick isn’t on the ballot, who do they vote for? Do they show up? Who ends up the winner? Just thinking out loud.
http://ohioright.com/2012/01/11/santorum-fails-to-get-on-every-ballot-in-ohio/
http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/02/santorum-fails-to-qualify-for-indiana-ballot-vows-113437.html

I’m still a Gingrich supporter, but I believe Santorum would be at least as likely as Newt to push for repeal of ObamaCare.

Unlike Romney, who would most likely make some half-assed effort to repeal and then nibble around the edges. Romney can’t be trusted. Not on ObamaCare, not on judges, not on abortion, and not even to tell the truth.

Gingrich first, Santorum second.

PPP could be a bit of an outlier, but Santorum’s surge is no fluke. Fox News has Santorum tied with Romney nationwide, at 30 percent each. See ‘Santorum Surges’. I got you linked up there, William.

The usage of the word “mirage” is an appropriately visual one, dealing with these primaries.

Santorum’s surge was probably to be expected, being he is the last candidate on the roster to go to the head of the line. However, he also got an extra boost with the insertion of the HHR mandate last week, a social values issue which fits nicely into the wheel house of Rick Santorum. However, when the conservations sweep back into the chronic problems of jobs and economics, his stance against RTW laws, pro-union votes, big-spender, earmark recipient may stem the current flow of enthusiasm his way.

Also, reporters and people from Pennsylvania tend to think he has built up little good will in his own state, because of all his missteps in the past.

I vote “surge.”

[quote]When Santorum lambasts “radical individualism” he demeans the smaller government movement embodied in the Tea Party movement — keeping government out of our lives is not radical, unless you are a big government conservative/liberal.[/quote]

Radical individualism is NOT what the Founders had (or the TEA Party, for that matter have) in mind. When Santorum talks about radical individualism, he’s referring to a libertarian / anarchist type of near-hedonism: if it doesn’t immediately and bodily hurt someone else, go ahead and do it! Immoral? Amoral? Whatever, doesn’t matter, if YOU want to do it, go right ahead. Want some heroine? Want to be a prostitute (or go to them)? Want to marry another man / woman (whatever is the same as your gender)? Sure, go for it. Want to drive 100 miles an hour? Well, sure, that’s on you. Go for it, you Individual you.

Santorum rightly notes that our Founders never intended for a free-for-all, wanton society unrooted in faith and morals, adrift without God or values. My understanding of the TEA Party is that we stand against government replacing God, against government dictating every aspect of our lives. Yes. But that doesn’t translate into doing whatever you want and your responsibilities as a citizen be damned; it doesn’t translate into no government or one so limited that there are no laws protecting our society and culture.

Radical individualism is just as dangerous, just as destructive, as a gigantic government. Both replace God with something else (self or government).

    @Fuzzy

    “Santorum rightly notes that our Founders never intended for a free-for-all, wanton society unrooted in faith and morals…”

    You make important points here, and I agree. Many libertarians are pushing for ideas that are quite anti-conservative.

    But I think the putative schism between libertarianism and social conservatism has been exaggerated by the statist left and some of Ron Paul’s disciples.

    Social conservatives want more freedom, not less. In that, SoCons and libertarians should be united.

    In defending their freedom, however, social conservatives have not forgotten the phrase “free exercise thereof,” three words in the First Amendment that many leftists usually ignore.

    In critiquing leftist libertarians and Ron Paul trolls, Santorum is right to point out that government is increasingly hostile to those who would choose to exercise their right live their lives free from the anti-conservative mandates and social engineering of the radical left.

Don’t trust the Natl. polls to tell me if the sun would come up tomorrow. Natl. polls have yet to tell us who will win the next state in primary. Romney was # 1 for how long? And every next state seems to have a new winner. (Thank god!). Had Gingrich actually tried (or been on ballot)to win CO,MO or MN, I’d be worried.
Santorums a whole new bag of wormies, Big Govt. spender, a little too eccentric on some religious beliefs,and I don’t care what the Psychiatrists say about saying good bye to the dead child I would never bring it home (or sleep with it for a night)to my other children – take them to the hospital – too out there for me, let alone his comments about homosexuals (and I’m neither pro or anti gay – have my own beliefs and don’t need to hash it out here – although, am belvr. in one man, one woman marriages), his support of Arlen Specter, and this may shock some people but I believe if your an elected Repub. in very blue state, your probably a dem. lite – just like Romney. And there is proof of that with Santorum (Unions, earmarks, lobbying). And what I never hear out of anybody is DO WE REALLY WANT ANOTHER LAWYER IN THE WHITE HOUSE? Also, and I hope no one takes this wrong, but I’m sure some will get upset, but I really questioned this guys judgement with taking baby Bella to SC. She got sick immediately after that. I have a 2 1/2 yr. old that was born 4 lbs 15 oz. but was breathing on her own & healthy (no NICU involved), they let us take her home 2 days later but Dr.’s told us with no immunity and her being so small that we should not expose her to anyone else(unless necessary) until after her 3 mo. appt. My daughter had none of the complications that poor child has. He’s the first one to say if she even gets a cold it’s deadly for her. At those rallies I can’t even imagine the risks it posed for her. I’m sure they have Nannies, was it really necessary to parade her out there if her life depends on it. This to me is worse than what Romney did with the dog. Let the vetting begin.
NEWT – GO BABY, GO!

Fuzzy

That is your interpretation of “radical individualism”. BTW, it’s mine, too. What is Santorum’s? I get the idea that to him “radidcal individualism” IS the tea party movement and anyone else who works against big government. On socil issues he’s pretty hidebound, narrowminded and intrusive in our lives. On fiscal issues he will vote for big government every time. He did that when he was in the senate. Why would he change if he became president.

This whole election season is so depressing. All of the GOP candidates are such a disappointment. If not Santorium then who? Really? This is the best the GOP can give us?

O how I wish Palin had run. Now, the next 4 years look gloomy no matter what.

Yes, Astroman, I even question the dorky way he brought out whole family for a CPAC Moment. The child they’re so concerned about just got out of hospital from pneumonia – how longs it been? 1 week? Sorry, at least mom should stay home or one of the older kids. But guess Presidential race tops her health and well being. If my child were just in the hospital a week ago and had her respiratory problems, I would be by that kids side for longer than a week. Her types of illnesses linger, they don’t miraculously go away. And what was the actual point of traipsing them all out there?

    I’ll leave it to parents and families to determine what is best for their children and families. I don’t need mama-Obama to look out for what my kids are eating, thank you very much.

    The truth is, I ONLY see this kind of criticism crop up when people are bitter about their own guy getting beat by another candidate. This is the same garbage people raised against Palin – ooooo, what a horrible mom, she should stay home since she has a special needs child…

    Do you really want to start criticizing the parenting of the various candidates? Was Newt being a good parent, looking out for the best interests of his children, when he was sleeping around on their mom? Yeah, I don’t think you want to go there.

    I’ll leave it to the Santorums to determine what is and isn’t in the best interest of their children.

Wow, that is horrible lighting for the Gingrich interview. He’s half in shadow the entire interview. They couldn’t have turned on another light in the room?

As for the PPP Santorum surge: people like to follow the winner. It’s going to last all of about 10 minutes until Romney turns the carpet-bombing machine on Santorum, and then he’ll be toast. Gingrich has the political resources (if not necessarily money) to be able to mount a credible challenge due to organizational structure. Santorum’s organizational structure is still weak (mostly because I don’t think even he expected to make it this far). Santorum is having to build it as he goes along.

Super Tuesday is going to be the heavy hitter. Romney is going to win Michigan (people there still have fond memories of his father). Arizona is going to be a toss-up, but I expect that Gingrich will make a respectable showing. So long as Romney doesn’t run away with a delegate count on Super Tuesday there’s no reason for Gingrich to retire from the field. If Santorum though doesn’t capture at least one state as a win, he’s toast.

    According to Intrade, Romney had a 97% chance of winning CO. And yet Santorum won CO despite being broke. I think it is very foolish to just assume Romney has MI locked up.

I wouldn’t rely too heavily on sharply edited clips from the likes of Ron Paul fans such as Judge Nap. Santorum is running as a conservative Republican, not as a Ron Paul libertarian. When he states that explicitly, Ron Paul trolls chop up the video to make Santorum sound like a big govt Christian socon zealot.

Ultimately that ends up helping the least conservative candidate, Mitt Romney.

I don’t agree with everything Santorum says in this 7-year-old interview, but it provides a lot more nuance that what is included in Napolitano’s deceptive clip:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4784905

Astroman, you aren’t a parent are you? I would be questioning Gingrich’s motives if he were in same position with a special needs child with serious respiratory problems. His kids are grown and appear to have done quite well for themselves, despite whatever type of parent he was. Unfortunately for you, I am a parent and even when I saw the Romney Dog article I could not believe a grown adult could be that ignorant. So like it or not, Santorum like Romney always mention what great “Family Guys” they’re (like its on a conservative check off list) and if that is one of their selling points, I look for little things like that. If you didn’t notice I said it would have been nice for at least his wife or one of older sibling to be there for the child after hospital especially since what I said about lingering respiratory illnesses. My child is 2 1/2 and his is 3, no child at these ages are comfortable with anyone but there parents when their sick. So if you don’t get it, well to bad.

    “Unfortunately for you,” I am a parent, thank you very much. So you don’t know as much as you think you do.

    And it is precisely because I am a parent, I do not appreciate people trying to tell me how I am suppose to be raising my children. Every family, child, and parent-child relationship is different. Maybe the child was with grandma? Maybe grandpa is the designated care giver since the child has had special needs? Who knows. Who cares. It seems apparent to me that the Santorums are good parents and a strong family.

    So how about you keep your nose out of their family business and keep it in your own family’s business? And here I thought only liberals believed that garbage of how it takes a “village” to raise a family…

Astro- Starting to think the “Village” idea of Hillary’s was based on your upbringing. Read my post again & I tell you exactly why I look at his “Family Man” virtues. If that’s his selling point, I have a right to look at what he does with that family. Santorum’s the first to say he’s running for president because he worries for his kids future. Well, that future is very limited for that child under the best of conditions. Only an idiot would take a child to where there will be 100’s of people shaking hands, shouting in each others faces, etc. That is as bad to me as putting her in a car with no child seat. And any parent with half a brain knows respiratory problems in young children can be fatal – most parents would never risk it. In this case Rick was thinking only of numero uno – Rick. But like I said, you were the “Village” poster child so don’t expect you to know.

What was Santorum’s greatest political achievement?

Winning three caucuses last week

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