Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax that former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum picked up "political momentum" with his big pair of Southern victories Tuesday night but he still trails Mitt Romney in the all-important delegate race.
“One thing’s for sure, there’s no real momentum for Mitt Romney in terms of the voters,” Schoen declared in an exclusive interview following Santorum’s victories in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries Tuesday. “It’s just as the best organized, best funded candidate, the sheer power of his money, negative ads and his organizational muscle still makes him the favorite to win.”
On the other hand, Schoen acknowledged, “It’s hard to be elected president when you keep losing states.”
The former Massachusetts governor’s most impressive win to date came in his neighboring state of New Hampshire and he barely was able to pull out a close victory over Santorum in his birth state of Michigan, a state where Romney’s father was governor.
“He is managing to amass delegates all the while having had only one overwhelming victory — in the state of New Hampshire,” Schoen observed. “That’s not a recipe for success. That’s a recipe for nomination and not acclamation, much less election.”
The big question after Tuesday’s contests was whether Newt Gingrich would press on but the former House speaker said he had no intention of getting out of the race at this point.
“I continue to believe that, that helps Mitt Romney because Mitt Romney is winning states with far less than a majority — sometimes a narrow plurality,” according to Schoen. “What Santorum needs is a one-on-one shot with Mitt Romney, which so far has eluded him. That hurts him with the voters. It hurts him with the delegates.”
He added that Romney will continue to benefit from closely contested races. “In other words, anything that is proportional works for Romney because his campaign is not about winning popular support. It’s winning ugly — getting over the finish line and getting enough delegates.”
Overall, Schoen said, that Mississippi and Alabama did little to change the nomination battle.
“This is more of the same — an underwhelming performance with the voters, a competitive performance with delegates, and proof that money, muscle, and organization sometimes trump the popular will,” he said.
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