Politics

Tide Turning? Rick Santorum Beats Mitt Romney in New Poll

| by Reason Foundation

By Emily Ekins

The latest CNN/ORC Poll finds Santorum in first place, and Gingrich is last place. Santorum edges out Romney 34 percent to 32 percent, but this is still within the survey’s margin of error. Paul comes in at 16 percent and Gingrich at 15 percent.

Santorum enjoys much more enthusiastic support, with 55 percent of his supporters “strongly” supporting his candidacy. In stark contrast only 38 percent of Romney’s voters “strongly” support him. Nevertheless, Romney still clearly leads in perceived electability, with 68 percent of Republicans expecting him to eventually clinch the GOP nomination, and 55 percent expecting him to have the best chance of beating Obama. In comparison, only 13 percent believe Santorum will win the GOP nomination and 18 percent believe he has the best chance of beating Obama.

It is notable that Santorum has garnered so much enthusiastic support, with 32 percent of Republicans saying they would be enthusiastic if he won the nomination, compared to the 21 percent who would be enthusiastic for Romney. This is particularly notable because, as Gene Healy recently cited,

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

“In a Pennsylvania Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg last summer, Santorum declared, "I am not a libertarian, and I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement."

Despite the upswing of libertarian rhetoric within the Republican Party, and the emergence of the Tea Party shifting the balance of power within the party away from social issues and toward economics, Santorum still gets many Republicans excited.