Romney Competitive In Mississippi
After Super Tuesday, the convention wisdom was that Mitt Romney would have trouble scoring a win before the Illinois Primary on March 2oth due mostly to his weakness in the south and among evangelical voters. To be certain, Romney is unlikely to make much of a splash in the Kansas Caucuses this weekend but the only candidate who seems to be campaigning there is Rick Santorum anyway. As we’ve already seen, though, Romney has shown signs of potentially doing well in Alabama and now, there are signs that he may also have a shot at winning next Tuesday’s primary in Mississippi.
First up is a poll from American Research Group which shows Newt Gingrich leading Romney, but by an amount that’s within the margin of error:
Newt Gingrich leads the Mississippi Republican presidential primary with 35%. Gingrich is followed by Mitt Romney with 31%, Rick Santorum with 20%, and Ron Paul with 7%.
Gingrich leads Romney 37% to 32% among self-identified Republicans, followed by Santorum with 21% and Paul with 3%. Among self-identified independents and Democrats, Paul leads with 33%, followed by Romney with 24%, Gingrich with 20%, and Santorum with 14%.
Gingrich leads Romney 37% to 30% among likely Republican primary voters saying they will definitely vote in the March 6 primary, followed by Santorum with 17% and Paul with 5%. Romney leads Santorum 40% to 20% among those saying they will probably vote, followed by Paul with 18% and Gingrich with 13%.
Gingrich leads with 49% among likely Republican primary voters saying they are supporters of the Tea Party, followed by Romney with 24%, Santorum with 17%, and Paul with 5%. Among likely primary voters saying they are not supporters of the Tea Party or are undecided about the Tea Party, Romney leads with 39%, followed by Santorum with 24%, Gingrich with 17%, and Paul with 10%.
Gingrich leads among men with 39%, followed by Romney and Santorum with 21% each, and Paul with 12%. Romney leads Gingrich 42% to 30% among women, followed by Santorum with 19% and Paul with 2%.
I’ve noted before that ARG’s polling has been off throughout this entire primary season so these numbers should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt. Nonetheless, Romney’s strength in the Magnolia State seems to be substantiated by a new Rasmussen poll which actually shows him leading the field:
Rasmussen Reports’ first Republican primary survey in Mississippi shows former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney leading his closest competitors by eight points. A new statewide telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters in the Magnolia State shows Romney with 35% of the vote, while former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich each draw support from 27%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul runs last with six percent (6%). One percent (1%) prefers some other candidate, and four percent (4%) are undecided.
Two polls may not be enough to tell us much of anything, but Nate Silver currently gives Romney a 70% chance of winning Mississippi. In any case, it seems clear that Romney is doing better in both of these states than many might have otherwise expected. If he manages to win one of them next Tuesday, then it will at the very least put the lie to the argument that Romney can’t win a primary in a Southern state. If he wins both of them, then the argument that either Santorum or Gingrich have any conceivable chance of winning the nomination will have been utterly destroyed.