Michigan and Arizona Polling Wrap-Up: Santorum Bounces Back

Filed in National by on February 28, 2012

Today we have the Republican primaries in Arizona and Michigan. As I understand, Arizona is a closed primary for only registered Republicans, and Michigan is an open primary, which allows Republicans, Democrats and Independents to vote. Indeed, a la Rush Limbaugh in 2008, Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos has launched Operation Hilarity, pushing for Democrats and liberals in Michigan to vote for Rick Santorum. Hell, even Rick Santorum is encouraging Democrats to stick it to Mitt and vote for him today.

Personally, I would never do such a thing. Even it is a joke. But whatever, I don’t think it will really have an effect on the race. Speaking of the race…

MICHIGAN

PPP: Santorum 38, Romney 37, Paul 14, Gingrich 9. Over the weekend, PPP had the race pegged at Romney 39, Santorum 37, Paul 13, Gingrich 9. So Romney and Santorum have swapped places, but it is too close to call.

Much has been made of Democratic efforts to turn out the vote for Santorum and we see evidence that’s actually happening. Romney leads with actual Republican voters, 43-38. But Santorum’s up 47-10 with Democratic voters, and even though they’re only 8% of the likely electorate that’s enough to put him over the top. The big question now is whether those folks will actually bother to show up and vote tomorrow.

Even though things seem to be moving back in Santorum’s direction, there’s one big reason to think that Romney will still come out as the winner tomorrow night. 18% of the electorate has already cast its ballots and with those voters in the bank Romney has a 56-29 advantage. Santorum’s likely to win election day voters, but he”s going to have to do it by a wide margin to erase the lead Romney has stored. We see Santorum with a 40-33 advantage among those who have yet to vote.

Romney hasn’t made a good last impression on Michigan voters. His favorability in Sunday interviews was 57/36, but in Monday interviews it was only 47/48. Santorum saw little difference in his reviews between the two days: 54/39 on Sunday and 56/36 on Monday. If Romney does indeed end up losing tomorrow there’s not much doubt he will have blown it in the final 48 hours.

That last number astounds me. On Sunday, Rick Santorum made headlines saying he wants to vomit on the Constitution of the United States and do away with the First Amendment. That statement improved his favorability among Republicans.

Mitchell Research/Rosetta Stone: Santorum 37, Romney 35, Gingrich 9, Paul 8
We Ask America: Romney 37, Santorum 33, Paul 18, Gingrich 13
Baydoun Consulting / Foster McCollum White & Associates: Romney 39, Santorum 31, Gingrich 9, Paul 9
Rasmussen: Romney 38, Santorum 36, Paul 11, Gingrich 10
ARG: Santorum 36, Romney 35, Paul 15, Gingrich 8

So it’s Santorum +1, Santorum +2, Romney +4, Romney +8, Romney +2 and Santorum +1.

The Baydoun Consulting poll seems to be an outlier. The race appears to be within the margins of error of every other poll. So we have a nailbiter on our hands.

ARIZONA

PPP: Romney 43, Santorum 26, Gingrich 18, Paul 11.
We Ask America: Romney 43, Santorum 27, Gingrich 21, Paul 10

No cliffhanger here. Romney will win easily in Arizona.

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