Elections 2012: Rick Santorum Surges Past Mitt Romney in Michigan Polls

Four years ago, Mitt Romney won the Republican primary in Michigan, his native state. However, two new polls released Monday show Romney trailing Rick Santorum who, just weeks ago, was barely breaking into double digits.

Mitt Romney was beaten by Rick Sanctorum in two polls held in Michigan. Photo: Senator Rick Santorum/Flickr

A Public Policy Poll shows the former Massachusetts governor was eclipsed by the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania. Santorum took 39 percent while Romney has 24 percent in the Wolverine State, where the candidate was raised during his father served as governor.

Moreover, a Pew Research Center poll released Monday also indicates that Santorum is ahead of Romney nationally, by 30 percent to 28 percent, says Boston Herald.

“Romney’s vulnerability is Santorum, whose working-class story resonates here,” said Michigan GOP strategist Greg McNeilly. “The average voter in Michigan knows Romney, but still don’t know his solution for America. Asked about it here, people draw a blank stare.”

So, Sanctorum had pulled even nationwide with Mitt Romney, who leads in the fight for delegates and who, as recently as a month ago, was leading Mr. Santorum by a margin of two to one in both those polls.

Katie Gage, Romney’s deputy campaign manager, said she wasn’t surprised that Santorum is leading in the polls after having won contests last week.

“Michigan is obviously an important state for us,” she said. “I think we always anticipated this race to be close.”

According to the Pew poll, the former senator from Pennsylvania, has been buoyed by backing from evangelical voters and Tea Party members.

They came out heavily for him last week in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri, giving him some significant victories, writes the New York Times.

“Rick Santorum has all the momentum in Michigan right now,” said PPP President Dean Debnam. “But it’s important to note that more than 50 percent of voters say they could change their minds in the next two weeks. There’s a lot of room for this race to shift back toward Romney in the coming days.”

On Thursday, Mr. Santorum will address the Detroit Economic Club, he reportedly would present his proposals together for the first time as a single, broad blueprint for promoting growth and bringing back jobs.

He is aiming to compete with Romney on the issue that voters say matters to them the most. Mr. Romney has based his campaign on his economic know-how and business acumen.

“The economy and jobs and unemployment are all that anybody talks about in Michigan, and Santorum needs to talk about them, too,” said Bill Ballenger, editor of Inside Michigan Politics.

“Santorum doesn’t have the resources to go toe-to-toe with Romney at this point,” said Washington, D.C.-based strategist Ford O’Connell. “But if he wins Michigan, it’s a two-man race.”

As Newt Gingrich weakening, Santorum adviser John Brabender reported that his camp is well positioned to take Michigan’s conservatives: “There were Romney people who weren’t excited, and we’re picking up a lot of those votes. … We’re going to be highly competitive in Michigan.”

Speaking to about 2,500 people at an outdoor amphitheater in Mesa this Monday, Romney did not mention any of his Republican opponents directly, but he focused his attention on Obama.

“This is really a battle for the soul of America,” he said. “It’s essential that we win this election and we get Barack Obama out of the White House.”

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