Louisiana primary keeps Santorum’s hopes alive as Gingrich, Paul fade
Rick Santorum led front-runner Mitt Romney by a wide margin in Louisiana’s primary election. But the results did little to close the delegate gap, and upcoming primaries favor Romney.
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Nate Silver, who writes the FiveThirtyEight political blog for the New York Times, scans a range of polls to conclude that Romney will win Wisconsin 49-35 over Santorum (with Gingrich and Paul in single digits).Skip to next paragraph
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As Mr. Silver points out, Santorum also is losing ground to Romney in Gallup’s national tracking poll.
“Mitt Romney's national support among Republican voters has surged in recent days, coincident with his decisive victory in the Illinois primary and a prominent endorsement from Jeb Bush,” Gallup’s Jeffrey Jones reported Friday. “Romney's support has increased to 40 percent, the first time a candidate has reached that level in this campaign, and his lead over Rick Santorum is back into double digits after narrowing to four percentage points on March 20.”
Perhaps more significant than former Florida governor Bush’s endorsement, Sen. Jim DeMint (R) of South Carolina – the closest thing to a tea party leader in Congress – had very positive things to say about Romney this week.
"I am not only comfortable with Romney, I'm excited about the possibility of him possibly being our nominee,” he told reporters. “His leadership skills, the fact he hasn't lived in his life in Washington. There is a lot to like there."
But even there, Santorum could have a problem, points out Jonathan Tobin, senior online editor of Commentary Magazine. “Apparently he won’t have delegate slates in every district meaning that even if he holds on and wins the popular vote there, Romney may still win a majority of delegates.”
As for Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, they were left trailing badly in Louisiana – a particular disappointment for Gingrich, who had spent a week campaigning there and hoped to at least stay viable in the South.
"This is clearly still an open race," Gingrich said in a statement Saturday night – obviously an assertion based more on campaign bravado than on fact. Under Louisiana’s delegate distribution rules, he failed to win a single one. Paul came away empty-handed as well.
Material from the Associated Press is included in this report.
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