Santorum Surge in National and SC Polls, Romney Still Leads

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GOP Nomination Race: Interpreting the Poll Results Nationwide

The Romney campaign hopes to maintain its lead going into primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Since the Santorum surge is so recent, aggregate polling data tends to include a lag, due to averages being factored in from mid to late December, when Santorum consistently polled in single digits.

The most current national GOP results include the Rasmussen poll, where Romney earned 29 percent of the vote, followed by Santorum with 21 percent, and Gingrich with 16 percent.

A Gallup poll conducted from December 29 to January 5 had Romney and Gingrich as the frontrunners, with 27 percent and 19 percent, followed by Santorum with 15 percent. The Gallup poll may have more credibility due to the larger and more diverse sample that would have been obtained by surveying over several days. The Santorum surge may also have only been gearing up during the early days of the Gallup poll, causing results from the entire period of time to be inaccurately low. However, the Gallup poll surveyed on the fifth, while the Rasmussen poll stopped on the fourth, so the extra day of polling at the end may have  counteracted low numbers collected early in the process.

South Carolina GOP Polls

South Carolina results are similarly contradictory. The Rasmussen poll, conducted January 5, has Romney leading with 27 percent, followed by Santorum with 24 percent, and Gingrich with 18 percent. A CNN/Time poll, conducted from January 4 to January 5, gives Romney a much healthier lead at 37 percent, followed by Santorum at 19 percent, and Gingrich at 18 percent. Both polls were conducted in the midst of Santorum’s surge.

Santorum Surge vs. Romney Steady Lead

As the GOP race remains in flux, these mixed results indicate that South Carolina could be a solid Romney win, or Santorum could pull off an upset victory. Additional polls, conducted over wider periods of the Santorum Surge, will provide more information, assuming that the surge lasts.

Sources

Rasmussen Reports. Election 2012: South Carolina Republican PrimaryElection 2012: Republican Presidential Primary. Accessed January 7, 2012.

RealClearPolitics. South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary2012 Republican Presidential Nomination. Accessed January 7, 2012.

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