Rick Santorum got a much-needed winning night Tuesday, which effectively “shatters” any claims of inevitability by Mitt Romney, political analyst and Democratic pollster Doug Schoen tells Newsmax.
“It shatters, at least for the time being, his image of invincibility and inevitability,” Schoen said in an exclusive interview. “While there were not a lot of delegates at stake, you’ve got three states all making it very clear, at the very least, that clear majorities of Republican voters don’t want the former Massachusetts governor to be their nominee — and that’s got to be worrying.”
Fresh off back-to-back victories in Florida and Nevada, former Massachusetts Gov. Romney lost big to Santorum in Minnesota and Missouri.
Santorum was threatening to make it a hat trick in Colorado — the first victories his campaign has tasted since the Iowa caucuses were belatedly awarded to him, after Romney was initially declared the winner by eight votes.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Santorum’s success in Tuesday’s contests, absent any apparent surge, appears to support the theory that the anti-Romney vote has been split among Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who turned his attention to other contests like the battleground state of Ohio, where he was campaigning Tuesday.
“The Anti-Romney vote has been split, and when it coalesces, as it did tonight, it can be cataclysmic to the front-runner,” explained Schoen.
In an interview with CNN, Gingrich floated the possibility Tuesday night that Republicans may have the first “open convention” since 1940, saying that he was in the race “all the way to the convention.”
While Schoen would not say that such an event is likely, he said it is a possibility.
“Let’s put it this way. There’s no evidence that Mitt Romney can get 50 plus 1 percent of the delegates,” said Schoen. “I’m not saying that there’s going to be an open convention, but tonight’s results are a giant step in that direction.”
He added that Santorum’s big night puts more pressure on Gingrich.
“It’s not good news for Newt Gingrich, but it is sure good news for those Republicans who want alternatives to Mitt Romney,” Schoen said. “And it means, for Newt Gingrich, he’s got a make or break date on March 6 on Super Tuesday.”
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