In Ohio, the Underlying Facts Look Great for Santorum

The first post-Michigan poll of Ohio Republicans is out, and Mitt Romney has closed the gap. According to Quinnipiac University, Rick Santorum has 35 percent of likely primary voters to Romney, who takes 31 percent. Because of the poll’s margin of error, ±4.3 percentage points, Quinnipiac presents this as too close to call. But the survey shows native advantages for Santorum that could propel him to victory, as long as he avoids another weekend of national controversy.

Santorum leads Romney 36–27 among voters without a college degree, as well as voters with an annual income below $100,000. As Quinnipiac notes, “he leads Romney 34–28 percent among men and 37–33 percent among women, 40–27 percent among self-described conservatives and 42–25 percent among Tea Party members. Romney leads Santorum 46–26 percent among self-described moderates.” This wouldn’t matter much if these voters were a small percentage of the electorate, but if the 2008 Republican primary is any indication, these are the voters that will determine the outcome in Ohio.

In 2008, 61 percent of Ohio voters had no college degree, 79 percent made less than $100,000, and 30 percent of voters identified themselves as “very conservative” (an analogue to Tea Party voters). What’s more, 40 percent of voters were white Evangelicals or born-again Christians—a key demographic for Santorum—and most (54 percent) were under the age of 60, placing Romney and Santorum on even ground.

All of Romney’s problems in Michigan—his aloofness, his irrepressible urge to make his wealth an issue—will haunt him in Ohio, where the electorate is more blue collar, more downscale, and more conservative. This isn’t to say that Romney will lose—the Ohio primary is four days away, which as we’ve seen during the nomination fight, is more than enough time for the landscape to change. What’s important is that Romney remains vulnerable in states which are critical to both the primary and the general election. And Santorum, if he wins Ohio, will have the electoral fuel he needs to continue his insurgent battle against the former Massachusetts governor.

You need to be logged in to comment.
(If there's one thing we know about comment trolls, it's that they're lazy)

Connect
, after login or registration your account will be connected.
Advertisement