On the face of it, Wisconsin should be a state in which Rick Santorum should excel. It’s not a Rust Belt state by geography, but certainly by composition, and it’s definitely a Midwestern state, although one with a strong progressive streak in its history. Of the three primaries to be held on April 3rd, it’s the only state in which Santorum has a decent shot of winning. However, a new Rasmussen poll out today shows that Santorum would have to come from behind to do so — way behind:
Mitt Romney holds a double-digit lead over Rick Santorum in Rasmussen Reports’ first look at the Wisconsin Republican Primary race.
A new statewide telephone survey shows that 46% of Likely Republican Primary Voters in Wisconsin favor Romney, while 33% prefer Santorum. Texas Congressman Ron Paul is a distant third with eight percent (8%) of the vote, closely followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at seven percent (7%). One percent (1%) favors some other candidate, and five percent (5%) are undecided.
In this case, taking Gingrich out of the mix doesn’t help, either:
In a one-to-one matchup in the Badger State, Romney leads Santorum 51% to 40%.
However, there is a big caveat to this poll, taken nearly two weeks out from the primary. Only 51% of voters are certain of their vote, an incredibly low number considering the amount of time this cycle has already eaten up. So who might benefit from reconsideration? According to the internals on the main question, it’s still Romney, who leads among those certain by a wide margin, 55/33. Romney leads among those who could change their mind (not a strong sign), but only by four points, 41/37. Romney also leads among those certain to vote by nearly the same amount as the overall polling, 47/33, and by six among those not certain, 37/31.
Voters in Wisconsin are about evenly split between whether it’s more important to choose the candidate who best represents their values or the one who can beat Obama, 45/48 respectively. However, on the latter question, Romney leads 59/20, and that could have a big impact on late-breaking deciders — if for no other reason that they may tend to split evenly between the two candidates, which would keep Santorum from catching up. That doesn’t mean that Santorum won’t catch up, but he has his work cut out for him. Wisconsin’s primary is winner-take-all for the delegates, so a close second doesn’t help anyone.
The big question here is this: how can only 51% of Wisconsin voters have come to a decision yet? What more do they need to see?