Your morning jolt: Polls miss evangelical surge in Mississippi, Alabama

On Tuesday night, Rick Santorum dashed the GOP presidential aspirations of Newt Gingrich and complicated Mitt Romney’s slog toward the Tampa convention.

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up during his election night partyon Tuesday in Lafayette, La. AP/Eric Gay

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum gives a thumbs up during his election night partyon Tuesday in Lafayette, La. AP/Eric Gay

More than that, Santorum thwarted pollsters who had suggested a happy night for both the former U.S. House speaker and former Massachusetts governor. The culprit was a serious undercount of evangelical clout.

From Stefan Hankin and Campaign & Elections:

Two firms released polling in the days leading up to the primaries and both were badly off the mark. American Research Group (ARG) had Mitt Romney up in Mississippi at 34 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 32 percent and Rick Santorum at 22 percent. Public Policy Polling (PPP) had Gingrich in the lead at 33 percent, followed by Romney at 31 percent and Santorum in third at 27 percent.

…Looking at the PPP crosstabs (kudos to them for being one of the few firms that release those; ARG only releases a few of their data points), they had evangelical voters making up 70 percent of the electorate. In fact, their numbers were at 80 percent, according to the CNN exit polls. That 10-point difference was substantial.

***
Alabama and Mississippi saw the Santorum surge that was supposed to happen in Georgia, but didn’t. For Mitt Romney, two third-place finishes in the South’s most conservative states were the embarrassment, despite a 4-to-1 assist from his affiliated super PAC. Gingrich was forced to bask in Santorum’s victory.

“The fact is, in both states, the conservative candidates got nearly 70 percent of the vote. If you’re the front-runner and you keep coming in third, you’re not much of a front-runner,” he told his supporters in Birmingham.

Much of this morning will be given to speculation over whether Newt Gingrich will withdraw from the presidential contest (unlikely) or will be pushed. Ralph Reed, in the Wall Street Journal:

“As long as there is money in the bank account and gas in the bus, I expect Newt to keep going,” he said. “It’s clearly a problem for Santorum, but it’s a gift for Mitt because it prevents the kind of mano-a-mano contest between Romney and the non-Romney candidate.”

The biggest question for Mr. Gingrich, though, may be how long his campaign can afford to carry on. It spends most of what it takes in and still carries debt from earlier in the nomination fight, according to a person familiar with the matter. The operation reported carrying more than $1.7 million in debt at the end of January, according to the most recent available records.

The Washington Examiner tucked this paragraph at the tail end of a piece on Gingrich’s fortunes:

[T]he Washington establishment, or more accurately the East Coast establishment, is about to declare Gingrich dead. After Tuesday’s primary, reporters from the Washington Post and New York Times were leaving the Gingrich campaign; it’s not clear how regularly the papers will cover Gingrich from now on. That’s a sign of establishment rejection that Gingrich would relish — he’s scored a lot of political points attacking the media — but the real worry is that the Gingrich campaign might slowly fade from press coverage. And then — far more ominously — those 175,000 donors might begin to lose their enthusiasm, along with their resolve to give again.

***
And yet Alan Abramowitz, the Emory University political scientist, sends this note, warning against declaring Tuesday a huge loss for Mitt Romney:

Rick Santorum may have won the two major contests yesterday in Mississippi and Alabama. But as a result of the Hawaiian and American Samoan caucuses, Romney actually won more delegates yesterday than Santorum. In fact, Mitt is cleaning up on the island vote. If you add together, so far, the delegates from Guam, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands (maybe Santorum will do better in the Southern Mariana Islands) and Hawaii, according to the NY Times, Romney has won 43 delegates to 4 for Santorum, zero for Gingrich, 2 for Paul and 6 uncommitted. And we still have Puerto Rico with 20 delegates to go.

***
Given that political radar in Georgia is currently tuned to National Guard frequencies, this from the Washington Post stands out:

A recruitment campaign to boost the Army National Guard and Reserve at a difficult time in Iraq and Afghanistan is the focus of a wide-ranging Pentagon fraud investigation, including allegations of kickback schemes involving military personnel, internal documents show.

The alleged fraud involves programs that paid $2,000 bounties to soldiers or civilians who signed up as “recruiting assistants” and brought in new enlistees. Investigators have found evidence that recruiters for the Guard and Reserve who were not eligible for the bounties worked with some recruiting assistants to secretly secure and split up the money.

***
In Oklahoma, former Georgia attorney Thurbert Baker has seized upon a fresh cause: Imaginative financing by trial attorneys. From Legal Newsline:

Oklahoma Senate Bill 1780 would make it against the law for a company to make a loan to a plaintiff that would be paid back from settlement funds or a jury award. It would apply to any case pending in an Oklahoma state court or any federal court in the state….

“I think a ban on some of the practices we’re seeing around the country is an appropriate measure to take,” said Thurbert Baker, the former attorney general of Georgia. “It’s very difficult to contain a lot of the problems we’re seeing around the country with lawsuit lending.”

…In lawsuit financing agreements, a plaintiff is given an amount usually between $500 and $5,000 with the promise of paying the company back with funds from a settlement or jury award. If the plaintiff loses, nothing is owed.

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson’s claim that his Democratic colleagues have failed to submit a budget over the last 1,000 days.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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83 comments Add your comment

td

March 14th, 2012
11:28 am

findog

March 14th, 2012
11:02 am

I understand that but do you know that the pill is also a health concern? Did you know that long term taking of the pill produces a higher risk for women to get blood clots in the legs that can lead to stroke or heart attacks? There are two sides to that health coin.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

March 14th, 2012
11:28 am

Oblama,

if you run for President, you have my vote… You tell it exactly as it is.

Amen?

Oblama

March 14th, 2012
11:28 am

Israel gears up to protect their borders ….. the Arabs jack the price of oil up again to fund the coming war.

Heinrich Patel

March 14th, 2012
11:30 am

Oblama– please start your own blog or stay on-topic with your comments.

lefty_316

March 14th, 2012
11:31 am

The results in Alabama and Mississippi are further proof that the GOP is actually two distinct entities under the same roof. Economic and fiscal concerns will always be secondary for social conservatives behind abortion, gay marriage and the rest of their retarded agenda. Meanwhile we fiscal conservatives want the party to focus on what made it a legitimate political party – small government, fiscal responsibility and pro-taxpayer policies. If the party wants to remain relevant it is necessary to completely purge the agenda of the religious right.

Becky

March 14th, 2012
11:33 am

td-did you know that viagra use causes heart attacks?

Oblama

March 14th, 2012
11:34 am

News flash: Israel prepares to strike in their self defense… Iran’s evil will soon end.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

March 14th, 2012
11:35 am

Oblama is on topic. Don’t you know that all things are connected?

Discovery of the zero point field by physicists has led to a revision of how we think about the body, the mind, and our relationship with nature and the universe.

Scientific exploration into the field of quantum physics, and the discovery of the zero point field of energy, is providing us with evidence that everything we experience in the physical universe is, in fact, connected…

Amen?

Oblama

March 14th, 2012
11:36 am

Patel – the topic isn’t worth discussing any further.

td

March 14th, 2012
11:38 am

Becky

March 14th, 2012
11:33 am

Well it a good thing I do not need viagra.

Heinrich Patel

March 14th, 2012
11:40 am

Then why don’t you find something productive to do with your day? If you’re already finished with your taxes, maybe you could take a walk or make yourself some soup…

Don Abernethy

March 14th, 2012
11:57 am

Could it be that a lot of people don’t like Christians, especially white Christians because they will not vote for Obama? Could it be that most Blacks will vote for Obama simply because he is Black? Could it be that Blacks will vote for socialism because they like government handouts and government jobs? We will get the answer in November.Can;t wait can you?

Moon Mullins

March 14th, 2012
11:58 am

Newt, the Son of the South, lost to a religious fanatic from PA and almost lost second place to a New England Yankee. If Newt can’t win in Dixie, he’s toast; but will continue to hang in the race out of spite even if he and his lovely wife, Callista, have to hop a Greyhound bus to travel between cities.

Newt, the megalamaniac, just can’t believe that folks are so dumb they can’t grasp and accept his messianic message. If he could just engage Obama in a three hour Lincoln/Douglas debate they’d see. . . ..

And, so it goes in the land of cotton. . . .

Moon Mullins

March 14th, 2012
11:58 am

Newt, the Son of the South, lost to a religious fanatic from PA and almost lost second place to a New England Yankee. If Newt can’t win in Dixie, he’s toast; but will continue to hang in the race out of spite even if he and his lovely wife, Callista, have to hop a Greyhound bus to travel between cities.

Newt, the megalamaniac, just can’t believe that folks are so dumb they can’t grasp and accept his messianic message. If he could just engage Obama in a three hour Lincoln/Douglas debate they’d see. . . ..

And, so it goes in the land of cotton. . . .

Refugee from Dikkksie (Thank God We Escaped)

March 14th, 2012
12:00 pm

Go Goobers Go!!! Dicksie is destined for Theokkkracy. Matter of fact, put a fork in it. Don’t belong? Do not sentence you and yours to a life of this.
Ecotopia is one solution. Not perfect, but not repulsive.

Michael

March 14th, 2012
12:05 pm

The Washington Post blogs are tearing the South a new one. Hilarious!

liberalefty

March 14th, 2012
12:05 pm

buh bye NEWT the sanctimonious liar and cheater…hehewhehe…

liberalefty

March 14th, 2012
12:07 pm

the pious bigot NEWT THE FORNICATOR is gone but hes staying in to soothe his ego…hehehe

liberalefty

March 14th, 2012
12:08 pm

AND another fool bites the dust…..hey wheres HERMAN…??
?

td

March 14th, 2012
12:11 pm

liberalefty

March 14th, 2012
12:08 pm

I thought you were banned from these boards for being so far to the left that even Jim could not stand it any longer.

liberalefty

March 14th, 2012
12:27 pm

i see the repubs have stopped going after womens reproductive rights…

lefty_316

March 14th, 2012
12:38 pm

Bloomberg released poll results today that found 77% of Americans believe insurance coverage of contraceptives is a women’s health issue and not a religious issue.

The GOP getting involved in a debate about birth control was almost as smart as meddling in the Terri Shaivo affair.

Don Goodlett

March 14th, 2012
12:59 pm

Romney’s evangelical problem is 180 years old. The feud between Mormons and Freemasons is something no one discusses to this day. 37% of Freemasons are Southern Baptist. http://WWW.MormonsMasonsandTemplars.com.

Atlantan

March 14th, 2012
1:51 pm

If Rick were to win we’d never have to worry about cronies being paid off with taxpayer dollars…. or how many millions he is going to blow on his vacations.

Unlike Obama, Rick believes in liberty and freedom.

melshop

March 14th, 2012
2:11 pm

Zeke, answering your question would require the presumption that voting for either of those two men would be reprehensible for outstanding citizens. I would not make that case for any candidate, Republican or Democrat, because how each views a candidate is subjective based on your own ideology. To say that “intelligent” “cultured” or “modern” people must vote progressive is intolerant, simple-minded, and elitist. Those attitudes is exactly why the South premeditates to buck national trends and polls.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will crush the heads of the perverted New World Order integrationist crowd and their devilish black minions

March 14th, 2012
2:11 pm

The Obama Presidency reminds me of the ways and means of 1380 waok and 89.3 wrfg radio stations, “I see the tower, and its blue.” Those radio stations started out years ago with hosts that represented the interest of the masses of black people. But after they get a following, incrementally, they fired each radio host that represented the interest of black people. And as we speak, each radio station among others has black people that represent the interest of mongrels, perverts, and “everybody.”

Here is the deal. The black audience doesn’t tune out when the persons that represented their interest are fired. They are not that sophisticated. Over time, they slowly but surely adjust to the perversion that the mongrels and perverts spew over the radio in exchange for money, fame, status, plush jobs, materialism etc.

Therefore Romney, Gingrich, Santorum, and Paul need not worry about defeating Obama. Like the radio hosts at 1380 waok and 89.3 wrfg, if he has successfully accomplished the military objectives in Asia, Africa, and America for which he was selected, Obama will be out of there in November in a heartbeat.

Amen?

Carole

March 14th, 2012
2:18 pm

Don Abernathy
Could it be that a lot of people don’t like Christians, especially white Christians because they will not vote for Obama? Could it be that most Blacks will vote for Obama simply because he is Black? Could it be that Blacks will vote for socialism because they like government handouts and government jobs? We will get the answer in November.Can;t wait can you
++++++++
Do you ask general questions just to have something to post?

What gibberish.

Michael

March 14th, 2012
2:21 pm

AJC loves its race talk.

Carole

March 14th, 2012
2:21 pm

Moon Mullins
Newt, the megalamaniac, just can’t believe that folks are so dumb they can’t grasp and accept his messianic message. If he could just engage Obama in a three hour Lincoln/Douglas debate they’d see. . . ..

And, so it goes in the land of cotton. . . .
++++++++

You hit the nail on the head. I guess Newt felt he had scored big with two other southern states that the two from last night would be a shoo in. Personally I’m a little surprised they weren’t.

Watching these primaries has sort of been fun, but the thrill is wearing off.

Carole

March 14th, 2012
2:24 pm

Atlantan
Unlike Obama, Rick believes in liberty and freedom.
+++++++

Yeah, if you’re not a woman. But keep telling yourself that.

honested

March 14th, 2012
2:59 pm

We can all thank the voters in MS, AL for providing the surge to a Democratic Victory in November.
Placing sans-scrotums head atop the repug banner is worth more than all the campaign cash in
the world to strike fear into the hearts of reasonable Citizens.
Result?

Obama 2012!!

NotNewt2012

March 14th, 2012
3:56 pm

I read the headline “Gingrich is on to Illinois”. It might well have read “Illinois is onto Gringrich.”

The NotNewt2012 tour continues to witness ANOTHER loss by Newt even in the deep South. Lucky to finish second. Newt give it up buddy nobody wants a second term of Newt in power. You screwed it up the first time and still don’t acknowledge any wrong doing. Oh, BTW, if you cannot run your personal life how do you think you can run a country?

honested

March 15th, 2012
8:18 am

Evangelical surge in Mississippi?

Does that mean a fresh crop of misguided nuts who get to vote in 9 months?