published Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Rick Santorum has justifiably big lead in Tennessee poll

  • photo
    Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum campaigns at a tea party town hall meeting, Saturday, Feb. 25 , 2012, in Hixson, Tenn.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

In a Republican primary season of constant ups and downs, conservative former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has justifiably charged to a commanding lead in Tennessee and is leading or tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in nationwide polls.

Santorum's strength in the Volunteer State is highlighted by a Vanderbilt University poll of more than 1,500 registered voters. Santorum, who got an enthusiastic reception during a visit to Chattanooga on Saturday, had the support of 33 percent of the respondents. Finishing far back were Romney at 17 percent, Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 13 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 10 percent. About a fourth of respondents expressed no preference, though, so a Tennessee victory for Santorum is not certain.

Still, he appears to be in the driver's seat here, and his Chattanooga stop may also have been intended to get the attention of voters in nearby, conservative North Georgia. Gingrich leads in Georgia heading toward Super Tuesday, the March 6 primaries and caucuses in Georgia, Tennessee and eight other states.

But Georgia offers the most delegates of any of the states where voting will take place on Super Tuesday, and Santorum may yet prevail there if he is seen as the conservative with a better shot than Gingrich at wresting the nomination away from the middle-of-the-road Romney.

So far, Santorum and Romney have won four states each, compared with one for Gingrich and none for Paul. Remarkably, Santorum is in a dead heat with Romney in today's primary in Michigan, where Romney was born and raised and where his father was once governor. Some observers believe Romney's chances are in great peril if he cannot pull out a win today in Michigan.

Whether or not that is true, we urge voters in Tennessee and Georgia to turn out in high numbers for Santorum next Tuesday, to put him on the path to challenging President Barack Obama in November. He lays out a clearer, more consistent case than Gingrich or Romney against ObamaCare. He believes in a strong national defense. He is pro-life. And he understands the danger posed by out-of-control federal spending.

Those sound characteristics make him a wise choice for Tennesseans and Georgians alike.

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Well, I guess you can't complain about Democrats coming out to vote in the open primary here or in Michigan.

February 28, 2012 at 12:53 a.m.
nucanuck said...

The Santorum surge is an indictment of the state of GOP political relevance in the most disasterous primary season in memory. The GOP faithful will have to reach deep to find reasons to support the likes of Rick Santorum.

And Tennessee seems to favor this lip wiggler.

Who would have thought that the GOP could revive Obama...preposterous!

February 28, 2012 at 1:36 a.m.
hotdiggity said...

As a Democrat I did my part to help ensure we have Santorum as the GOP candidate. I did a crossover vote for Insanitorum in the early voting last week. Does anyone really believe that Independents will support this far right lunatic. Moderates and women will turn out in droves against him. Obama..four more years.

February 28, 2012 at 2:02 a.m.
EaTn said...

The makeup of our state legislation is evident of the gullible mentality of our state voters who would stand in line to buy snow-cones in dead winter. Is Santorum favored in the state a surprise to anyone?

February 28, 2012 at 6:33 a.m.
sharonpeker said...

The lack of quality and insight of these comments is part of what makes me proud to be Republican these days..the others are Newt & Santorum.

February 28, 2012 at 9:12 p.m.
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