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Santorum’s Southern Sweep


So why did Rick Santorum pull out victories in Alabama and Mississippi when the final polling showed him slipping into third place behind Newt Gingrich and MItt Romney? The answer, simply, is that the polls underestimated evangelical turnout. In Alabama, Public Policy Polling had the evangelical/non-evangelical percentage at 68/32; the actual number was 75/25. In Mississippi, PPP had it at 70/30; the actual number ws 80/20. As a result, Santorum's narrow evangelical pluralities--which PPP did estimate right--were sufficient to lift him over his rivals. 

It's not uncommon for the pollsters to underestimate evangelical turnout in Republican primaries, and the reason seems to be that they miss the role that mobilization plays. Credit for that yesterday was claimed by the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, which spent half a million dollars to help turn out voters for Santorum. And presumably the old religious right pastors' network was working. Overall, turnout was up compared to four years ago--10 percent in Alabama and 50 percent in Mississippi. So at least in states with big evangelical populations, Rick's mobilizers can beat Mitt's moneybags.

Topics: Politics, Election
Tags: santorum


  1. Yup, Santorum got a whole net delegate boost of ONE from winning Mississippi, with Romney and Gingrich close behind.  His advantage of 8 in Alabama was more than neutralized by the 14 delegates Romney won in Hawaii and American Samoa.  So Romney ends up increasing his lead against Santorum.  With more victorious days like this, Santorum will be ready for—what?  He shows no sign he can catch up to Romney, which would mean DOUBLING his own delegate count, let alone PASS him and go on to win a majority of delegates.  Does he want to just prevent a majority for Romney and throw the convention into chaos, and make it harder to put forward a winning candidate that non-Republicans will vote for?  If so, he does not have the best interests of either the Republicans or the nation at heart.  If he cannot understand the math, and make a realistic assessment of what is going to happen, he is woefully unqualified to serve as president.

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