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A detailed analysis showing that Senator Rick Santorum has the best chance to beat Obama

  • In 1990, Senator Rick Santorum defeated a 7-term democrat incumbent in democratic district.
  • In 1992 the Democrats re-drew the district to make it 3 to 1 democrat.  Bush lost it in a landslide, but Santorum won even in this gerrymanndered district.  Oh, and Santorum won with 61% of the vote.
  • Santorum was part of the Gang of 7, and was a consistant conservative, but won in deeply blue district.
  • In 1994, Santorum won election in the Senate from the blue state of PA.  He won against an incumbent democrat.  Again, Santorum remaining a strong conservative, and yet won in a blue state.
  • In 2000, Santorum won PA, beating pro-life Ron Klink, even as Bush lost.  Santorum was a major target for democrats, and even though they beat Bush in PA, they lost to Santorum.  Santorum won by 6 points.
  • In 2006, Santorum lost his seat to Casey by 17% of the vote.  That looks bad, but is actually overperforming.  The same year, the GOP candidate for governor lost by 21%.  Santorum outperformed the GOP governer nominee by 4 points.  In 2004, Casey won as treasurer of PA by 25% in that state-wide election.  Santorum overperformed that result by 8%.
  • In 2006, Bush had a 33% approval and 64% dissapproval in PA in November 2006.  In other words, Bush would have lost by 31%.  Santorum outperformed Bush in PA by 16%
  • Santorum was running for the Senate against the most popular democrat in the state when his president Bush was extremely unpopular.
  • At the same time, in 2006, the democrat governor, Ed Rendell was popular by 61 – 36%, or plus 25%.  Santorum only lost by 17%, which means that he outperformed by every measure.  Yes he lost big-time, but the GOP was far more unpopular than was Santorum.  Santorum was a conservative and ran as one.  Santorum outperformed.
  • At the same time, November 2006, Rick Perry was at 41% popular, vs 56% unpopular, about 15% down.  When Perry ran for re-election, Perry actually only got 39% of the vote (actually slightly less than Santorum).  Perry only won because 2 independents also ran and split the anti-Perry vote.  2006 was a bad year for the GOP.
  • At the same time, in 2006 Romney was at 34 – 65, an unfavorable of 31% — also higher than Santorum lost.  Romney didn’t run for re-election.

The data show us clearly that Santorum consistantly overperforms and was actually more popular in PA than Perry was in TX or than Romney was in Mass.  That is where the facts are.  When people claim Santorum is not electable because he lost in 2006, that is not realistic.  2006 was a horrible year for the GOP.  It was also the 6th year of Bush, and every metric shows that to usually be a bad year.  For the GOP it was horrible.  Santorum was supporting a very unpopular war in Iraq, and was linked to the Bush tax cuts (that Santorum supported) and to Iraq.  Santorum overperformed and stuck to his conservative beliefs.

When we look ahead to 2012, the GOP needs to win certain states and certain voters to have a chance.  I have long said this.  The key groups are:

  • Working class, unionized, white, pro-life, pro-family voters.  These Reagan democrats are a key part of winning Ohio, competing in PA, and key for states like WV.
  • The GOP base, which is needed to have a shot at the South given Obama’s motivation of African-American voters
  • Virginia — which means the support of federal workers in Northern Virginia, including civilian military and nonmilitary workers

In addition, certain groups play accross a number of key states, to include Ron Paul supporters, moderates, and fiscal conservatives.

With the exception of federal workers and Ron Paul supporters, Santorum is well possitioned to win where he needs to.  He needs to take real and serious efforts to reach out to Ron Paul supporters.  Paul could be Treasurery Secretary, or something.  Santorum also needs to make a concerted effort and significant push to win federal workers; Virginia used to be a redstate.  However, Obama really entergizes African Americans, and it has a growing population of liberals.  Virginia is less impacted by the economic problems because of its pro-growth governor.  It is now a swing state which only a small population of swing voters for a federal election; the majority of them federal workers.  Those 2 main efforts are not really that hard.  Paul voters lean GOP anyway.  Playing nice with Paul is worth their vote.  Federal workers actually do not care about cutting government and cutting federal jobs; they just want their annual cost of living adjustment to keep pace with inflation like they got under Bush.  These are both easy and simple.  Do as Reagan did and reach out with a big tent.

Santorum will face a harder road in some states (such as CO and NH), but can play in those states.  He also will have a few NH states open of to play in such as MI, WI, and PA.

The bottom line is that the electrial math is easier with Santorum.

In the case, for example, of Romney — the south becomes hard.  Virginia becomes almost impossible, and NH is hard.  Romney will lose religious conservatives in both states.  In VA he is worse possitioned for federal workers than any candidate other than Perry.  His flip-flop record will hurt him in the whole south, and Obama will campaign there.  Romney’s biggest problem, however, is OH.  Romney does not connect to working class folks.

Perry’s problems in the general are actually worse than Romney.  Unfairly Perry is labled as anti-social security.  Perry’s not viewed as smart.  Perry will have some real trouble in FL.  Perry’s plan to freeze federal pay until the budget is balanced has killed him in VA; he simply cannot win there.  Perry’s weaker in NH and Iowa than Romney or Santorum.  Perry’s simply is in a weaker possition.

Gingrich actually is stronger in VA, and would win the South.  He is slightly weaker in OH and PA than Santorum, but stronger than the rest there.  Gingrich can play for NH.  I think Gingrich could beat Obama also.

Ron Paul’s got a number of problems against Obama.  His military and budget cuts will hurt him in VA and NC.  However, it is unclear how he would play out nationwide.  He is so different, it is hard to know.  His age will not help.

Again, when we look at specific candidates and specific states, Santorum looks good.  Ohio is a must-win that Santorum would win.  Santorum is well possitioned for most of the key states.  He has some work in VA, some work with Paul voters, and some work in other areas, but is more winnable than Romney.

A number of folks are going to go all-out against Santorum.  The attacks are not based on actual problems with Santorum; if they were, the attacks would have come sooner.  Paul got attacked in 2008 before he had any chance to win.  Same for Rudy.  Same for Huckabee.  The Club for Growth attacked Huckabee when Huckabee was under 5% in Iowa.  The attack against Santorum are from other candidates who want to win and to do so they see Santorum as the biggest threat.

 

 

 

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