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Santorum Could Surge Tuesday

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Rick Santorum at the Wings Plus in Coral Springs. (Source: CBS4)

Rick Santorum at the Wings Plus in Coral Springs. (Source: CBS4)

CAMPAIGN 2012
campaign 2012 new2 Santorum Could Surge Tuesday
Miami Heat

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After largely being forgotten in the Florida presidential primary and Nevada caucus; Rick Santorum could have a big day Tuesday as he leads in two of three states hitting the polls.

According to Public Policy Polling, Santorum currently leads Mitt Romney in Missouri 45-32 with Ron Paul at 19 percent.

However, Missouri’s vote is symbolic and won’t count towards the overall number of delegates given to a candidate. A Missouri caucus will be held later this year to determine who gets the states delegates.

In Minnesota, Santorum leads Romney 33-24 with Newt Gingrich in third at 22 percent and Ron Paul in fourth at 20 percent.

Finally, in Colorado, Santorum is second behind Romney 37 percent to 27 percent with Gingrich at 21 percent and Paul at 13 percent.

According to PPP, Santorum’s personal popularity is the primary reason for his sudden surge. His favorability is over 70 percent in all three states, while Romney and Gingrich both have negative favorability in the same areas.

Santorum is winning tea partiers, evangelicals, and those who said they were “very conservative.” All of those groups had previously broken for Gingrich, but could be starting to shift away if Santorum can win big Tuesday.

Still, 38 percent of voters in Missouri, 35 percent in Minnesota, and 31 percent in Colorado said they still may change their votes.

Thanks to his victory in Florida, Romney holds a commanding lead in the delegate count. Romney currently has 85 delegates, Newt Gingrich is second with 29 and Rick Santorum is in third with 16 delegates.

A total of 76 delegates will be up for grabs in Minnesota and Colorado. The delegates will be divided up proportionally based on the final vote numbers.

After Tuesday’s vote, the GOP will move on to Maine for a caucus on Saturday and then have roughly 17 days until the next votes in Michigan and Arizona.

Romney is expected to carry Michigan and possibly Arizona, so if Santorum or Gingrich is going to make a move, they will have to do it Tuesday and Saturday to stay alive until Super Tuesday on March 6 when 437 delegates will be up for grabs across 10 states.

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