Rasmussen: Santorum Needs ‘Hail Mary’ to Beat Romney

Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012 04:26 PM

By Martin Gould

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Rick Santorum has little left to run for in this year’s Republican presidential race, and the time is fast approaching for him to start thinking about his future, leading pollster Scott Rasmussen tells Newsmax exclusively.

Santorum has virtually no chance of winning more than three of the next nine primary contests, Rasmussen says. Even if front-runner Mitt Romney reaches the Republican National Convention without 50 percent of the delegates, the former Massachusetts governor will almost certainly still win the nomination, he adds.

Rasmussen was speaking Wednesday, the day his new book, “The People’s Money,” which describes how politicians have consistently failed to cut spending despite their promises, climbed to No. 17 on the New York Times non-fiction best-selling list.

And it was within hours of Romney receiving the long-awaited endorsement of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, after his 12 percentage point victory in Tuesday’s Illinois primary.

“Rick Santorum has to keep in mind that he has a platform that is larger than he has ever had in his life and he should take advantage of that,” said the pollster. “He wants to live to fight another day and leave this campaign with the people in the party having a positive view of him.

“If I was guessing what the immediate spin would be, it would be for him to remind Republicans that the person who comes in second will be the front runner next time round.

“And if Romney forms the next administration, he would want to be part of it, or a spokesman on a series of issues he believes in,” Rasmussen added. “That shouldn’t be foremost in his mind right now, but he can use this platform to showcase the things he cares about.”

Rasmussen made it clear that he did not believe that Santorum should pull out of the race now, despite his diminishing chances; he just must be realistic about his chances. “I liken it to a football team that is way ahead and time is going to run out – Santorum needs a Hail Mary.”

The candidate himself stayed upbeat following his heavy defeat in the Land of Lincoln. He pointed out that he had won the areas of Illinois that Republicans are likely to win in a November match-up with President Barack Obama, and his losses had come in safe Democratic areas.

The GOP race now moves to Louisiana, where Rasmussen’s company, Rasmussen Reports, is polling for the first time Wednesday night. A survey by Magellan Strategies conducted Sunday put Santorum 13 points ahead of Romney.

Rasmussen agreed that the signs are pointing to a win for the former Pennsylvania senator in the Pelican State. “Generally the further south you go, the fewer people vote for Romney, so it will be difficult for him.
“If Romney were somehow to win in Louisiana, the race would effectively be over,” he added.

Despite his fascination with the political process, Rasmussen’s book, which was released in January, excoriates politicians. “Today, the American people are decades ahead of the politicians in terms of wanting to restrain the growth of spending,” he told Newsmax at the time. “We’ve gone through more than 50 years of spending growth, but during all that time, voters were voting for politicians who promised to cut spending and taxes.”

Looking forward to April, he said Santorum should win his home state of Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin could be close, but the other contests – in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Rhode Island – all look like slam-dunks for Romney.

And combined with results in late-voting states, that will mean that by Aug. 27, when delegates gather at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, the nomination will be a foregone conclusion. “I would say there is still a possibility of an open convention, but not a brokered one,” said Rasmussen.

“It is not likely, but it is possible that Romney goes in with a 45-30 lead and if that were the case he will be the nominee because the super delegates will break for him. The voters would say he came on top and he should be the nominee.

“To be brokered, it would require Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum to be very, very close – and I don’t see that happening.”

Equally unlikely is the idea that an outside candidate such as former Gov. Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels or Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan would emerge as a “white knight” nominee. “That’s just people fantasizing about their favorite,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said he did not believe that Bush’s endorsement would “in and of itself” make much difference to the race for the White House. “But I suspect you will now get more endorsements for Romney – he has already got a good number – and you will see a strong series of positive news articles about him.”  

To purchase Scott Rasmussen's book, "The People's Money," click HERE.










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