Santorum Leading By Wide Margins In Texas And Oklahoma

Given is wide appeal among social conservatives and evangelicals, it’s perhaps not surprising to see Rick Santorum starting to run up huge poll margins in states where the Republican Party is dominated by those types of votes. For example, a new poll of Texas Republicans shows Santorum absolutely crushing the rest of the field:

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has a commanding lead among Republican presidential candidates in Texas, according to a new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.

Santorum would get the votes of 45 percent of the respondents if the election were held today, according to the survey. The other three candidates in the GOP race — former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas — are clustered well behind. Gingrich got 18 percent, Romney received 16 percent and Paul garnered 14 percent.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Rick Perry’s endorsement of Newt Gingirch doesn’t seem to have impressed Texas Republicans at all. As with voters in Florida, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri, they seem to have forgotten about him completely. Santorum is also the only candidate in the poll with positive favorability numbers, everyone else, even Texas native Ron Paul, is in negative territory on favorability. Most surprisingly, though, is the fact that Santorum is winning the electability argument in the Lone Star State:

In Texas, Santorum also has made the case for his electability, the most important aspect of the primary for 45% of the likely primary voters in the survey.  Among likely general-election voters in Texas, Santorum has the widest margin of victory over Barack Obama and the only one to win a majority, 51/37.  Romney comes close at 49/36, as does Newt Gingrich (49/38).  Native Texan Ron Paul only gets a 44/35 spread over Obama.

Let’s be honest. The Republican nominee is going to win Texas in November regardless of who it happens to be, and it shouldn’t be all that shocking that the most conservative candidate is doing so well in one of the most conservative states in the country. The problem for Santorum is that we don’t know at this point when the Texas primary will be. Originally, it was scheduled for Super Tuesday, March 6th,  but that was scrubbed after the Texas Congressional map ended up in litigation. At this point, it looks like the earliest date that Texas will be able to schedule its primary is May 29th, or perhaps not until June. A big win in Texas on Super Tuesday would have been a huge boost for Santorum, but now it looks like the state will remain in play for months and could fall out of his grasp if he stumbles along with the way.

One state that will hold its primary on Super Tuesday, though, is Oklahoma, and Santorum appears to be doing very well there:

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum has surged to the front among Oklahoma’s Republican voters, according to a SoonerPoll.com survey released Sunday.

Santorum was the first choice of 39 percent of the 278 likely voters who said they planned to participate in the March 6 state GOP primary.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, first in a survey conducted last fall, dropped to third, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who remained second.

Romney, generally considered the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, was at 23 percent, followed by Gingrich at 18.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was at 8 percent, and 13 percent were undecided.

Twenty-two of the 300 Republicans in the original sample either said they don’t intend to vote in the primary or weren’t sure if they would.

The survey was conducted Feb. 8-16, after Santorum picked up victories in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri, and partly after appearances in Oklahoma City and Tulsa on Feb. 9.

“Because Oklahoma is not a leading primary state, and because one party takes it for granted and the other thinks it has no chance, the candidates don’t spend much time here,” said SoonerPoll.com President Bill Shapard.

“Romney has remained pretty steady,” Shapard said. “His share is relatively unchanged.”

The “non-Romney” Republicans, he said, seem to be still looking for a favorite.

“That’s why the seeming movement from Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum,” Shapard said.

Does anyone see Mitt Romney overtaking Rick Santorum in Oklahoma? I sure don’t. With Oklahoma one of several Southern states set to hold primaries, Super Tuesday is shaping up to a very good day for Santorum.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Most surprisingly, though, is the fact that Santorum is winning the electability argument in the Lone Star State:

    I don’t find that surprising at all, Doug. I mean, look at their 3 term Governor.

  2. Tillman says:

    You have to wonder how many of these primary voters use Google.

  3. Tsar Nicholas says:

    Would it be possible to rate lower than a devout Mormon in a contested GOP primary in Texas or in Oklahoma? Could there be two more WASP-Y states? Hell, Romney would have a better shot if he were an atheist. At least then the Bible bots might feel like they had a clean slate on which to work.

  4. JohnMcC says:

    If Santorum can win in an old-confederate state, Mr Romney hasn’t got a snowball’s chance in hell.