Data Suggests Santorum Surge Hurts Chances of Republican Victory

By Brandon Loran Maxwell | PoliticIt

Rick Santorum

Recent findings by Politicit, a Salt Lake City based social media polling group, show the “Santorum surge” has positively impacted the presidential race — not for Republicans, but for Democrats.

The It snapshots, taken between January 14 and March 14, indicate presidential incumbent Barack Obama rose in the polls correspondingly to presidential challenger Rick Santorum, while Mitt Romney remained relatively fixed throughout (See chart below). 

This appears to suggest that the prospect of a Santorum presidency doubles as red meat for Obama supporters who likely view Santorum’s social views more hostilely than Romney’s.

Likewise, Obama received a particularly generous boost between February 11 and February 15, the dates leading up to and following Santorum’s landslide primary victories in Alabama and Mississippi.

It Scores from January 14 to March 14, 2012. 

However, while Santorum’s meteoric rise may on the surface appear to undermine Romney’s longstanding frontrunner status. Romney’s numbers have remained fairly dependable while sidestepping the unintended byproduct of a ginned up democratic base.

As the Associated Press reported last week, Romney still appears to struggle among evangelicals and social conservatives who remain disenchanted over pro-choice positions he formally held as Massachusetts governor — positions he has since reversed and denounced. 

Santorum’s anomalous aptitude for unifying Obama supporters may ultimately be a blessing in disguise for Romney. In effect, as Santorum’s popularity rises in the polls, so does the political scrutiny. And unlike Romney, who ran in 2008, this is Santorum’s first time facing the intense national scrutiny of a legitimate presidential run.

Likewise, the more Democrats that focus on Santorum, the more time Romney acquires to articulate himself to undecided conservative voters — a demographic Romney has to win in order to successfully compete against Obama this fall.

Santorum’s candidacy also runs the risk of maiming the entire Republican Party — not because his candidacy damages Romney’s, but because his candidacy appears to benefit Obama’s.  

Brandon Loran Maxwell

Brandon Loran Maxwell serves as an analyst for PoliticIt. He is currently a student at Brigham Young University studying political science. Follow Brandon on Twitter at @bloranmaxwell. Follow PoliticIt on Twitter at @PoliticIt

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