Posted Friday, March 23, 2012, at 11:43 AM
Up to now, every poll out of Wisconsin pointed to a Rick Santorum advantage. A mid-February Marquette University poll put Rick Santorum at 34 percent and Mitt Romney at 18 percent. One week later, Public Policy Polling gave Santorum a 43-27 lead. Wisconsin just wasn't Romney country. In October, before he quit the race, Herman Cain led with 30 percent of the vote in the Badger State.
But now comes Rasmussen.
A new statewide telephone survey shows that 46% of Likely Republican Primary Voters in Wisconsin favor Romney, while 33% prefer Santorum. Texas Congressman Ron Paul is a distant third with eight percent (8%) of the vote, closely followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at seven percent (7%).
Rasmussen had overrated Romney's strength in the South (he had him winning Mississippi by 8 points!) but he actually lowballed the result in Illinois. I've seen convincing demographic charts proving that Santorum can win Wisconsin. Is this, finally, an example of momentum changing the underlying dynamic in a state?
Maybe. It's more likely a reflection of the $3.3 million that Restore Our Future PAC has spent in Wisconsin. Another swingy Midwestern state, another opportunity for Santorum to hustle, try and catch up, and fall short.