The PJ Tatler

Rasmussen: Romney up 16 over Santorum

In a Rasmussen poll taken yesterday, Mitt Romney has opened a 16 point lead over his nearest challenger Rick Santorum:

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, coming off his primary wins in Arizona and Michigan, has jumped to a 16-point lead over Rick Santorum in the battle for the Republican presidential nomination. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters shows Romney with 40% support to 24% for the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. This is Romney’s biggest lead to date and the highest level of support any GOP candidate has earned in regular surveying of the race. Two weeks ago, it was Santorum 39%, Romney 27%.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich earns 16% support, closely followed by Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 12%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided. The new findings mark virtually no change in national support for Gingrich and Paul. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The usual suspects are wringing their hands over the “inevitable” Romney win — just as the other usual suspects were ringing their hands when Santorum looked unbeatable. I’m sure there’s a one-liner in there that would bring down the house.

Where is Henny Youngman when we need him?

Santorum is likely to win at least 3 states on Super Tuesday next week, including Tennessee, Oklahoma, and he has a substantial lead in Ohio. Romney should win Massachusetts, Vermont, and Virginia (Santorum is not on the ballot in VA). Gingrich is ahead in his home state of Georgia which leaves three caucus states; Washington, North Dakota, and Idaho. No recent polls have been published that would tell us anything concrete about GOP sentiment in those states.

This whole thing could flip once again if Santorum wins Ohio and one or two of the caucus states. The fact is, despite being poorly funded and without much of an organization, Santorum will not trail Romney in the actual delegate count by more than 150 or so delegates after Super Tuesday. And with several sweepstakes primaries coming up, Santorum could make that deficit up in a hurry.

The dynamics of this race seem to change every week. Counting either candidate — any candidate — out at this point is foolhardy.