Schoen: Santorum Wants to Preserve ‘Political Credibility’

Tuesday, 10 Apr 2012 03:12 PM

By Paul Scicchitano

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Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax that former Sen. Rick Santorum suspended his campaign Tuesday because he would have lost all “political credibility” for a 2016 run at the GOP presidential nomination had he tasted defeat next week in his home state of Pennsylvania.

“He dropped out because if he loses Pennsylvania, he loses whatever political credibility he has,” declared Schoen in an exclusive interview on Tuesday after Santorum confirmed that he was suspending his campaign in an afternoon address from Gettysburg, Pa.

Schoen called the turn of events a “huge victory” for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has had difficulty winning support among the more conservative voters, who have helped Santorum to 11 primary and caucus victories.

By suspending his campaign, Santorum preserves the possibility of currying favor with Romney and the GOP establishment, according to Schoen, author of the new book, “Hopelessly Divided: The New Crisis in American Politics and What it Means for 2012 and Beyond.”

“While two weeks ago he said that Gov. Romney would have been the worst Republican in America to run, that worst Republican in America is going to be the nominee,” Schoen said. “And he’s looking to curry a little favor and hopefully be in a position to run in 2016. If he lost Pennsylvania on April 24, he would have had no good will, and he would be a political non entity.”

But Schoen said that Romney’s work is just beginning, as confirmed in a  Washington Post/ABC News poll released Tuesday, which shows Romney trailing Obama by a wide margin. “His negative rating exceeds his positive rating,” said Schoen, adding that it’s unclear whether Romney can overtake Obama even with Santorum out of the race.

“He’s proven he can get nominated. He’s not proven he can get elected, and the polls show he’s in a huge hole,” said Schoen.

He noted that former House Speaker Gingrich has effectively suspended his campaign and Paul is not a factor in the nomination battle.

“This is the beginning of the general election campaign, but make no mistake, Gov. Romney’s proven he’s nominatable. He’s yet to prove he’s electable and for Rick Santorum it was bowing to reality,” said Schoen.

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