Rick Santorum wins Alabama and Mississippi, big spending Romney places third

From the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum won the Alabama and Mississippi primaries Tuesday, pulling off another pair of surprise victories and boosting his claim to be the conservative alternative to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who built his campaign around the Southern strategy, appeared headed to a second-place finish in both states while Mr. Romney was trailing slightly in third.

The result marked a surprisingly strong showing for Mr. Santorum, as polls had suggested a tight race between Messrs. Romney and Gingrich for the lead in both states. Mr. Santorum had even begun to suggest that he was fighting for a strong showing rather than a win.

In jubilant remarks to supporters in Louisiana, another Southern state whose primary is coming up, Mr. Santorum took a shot at Mr. Romney. “People have said ‘You’re being outspent’ and people are talking about the math and that this race is inevitable,” Mr. Santorum said. “For someone who thinks this race is inevitable, he spent a whole lot of money against me.”

The results were an undeniable boost for Mr. Santorum in his bid to position himself as the conservative alternative to Mr. Romney. Since the beginning of the GOP nomination battle last year, Mr. Romney has benefited from a division among his more conservative rivals.

“I don’t think there was a single poll that had me anywhere close to a win in Mississippi,” Mr. Santorum told supporters. He added, “This campaign is about ordinary folks…going out there and exceeding expectations, defying the odds, because we believe in something bigger than ourselves.”

The Romney campaign had devoted last-minute resources to put its candidate over the top. Mr. Romney made a hastily scheduled visit to Mobile, Ala., on Monday, and an outside group supporting his candidacy spent nearly $2.3 million in Alabama and Mississippi.

Is Santorum too socially conservative?

Let’s see:

The New York Times focused on the “treacherous political ground” occupied by President Obama as the election draws closer, while proving wrong pro-Obama assumptions made in recent stories by Times reporters Susan Saulny and Jackie Calmes, in Tuesday’s front-page poll analysis “Obama’s Rating Falls as Poll Reflects Volatility,” by Jim Rutenberg and Marjorie Connelly.

[…]The responses to poll questions #73 and #74, asking whether employers and religious groups should be forced to cover birth control for their employees, showed that most respondents favor employers be allowed to opt out of covering birth control for moral reasons (51% were in favor of the opt out, while 40% favored making coverage mandatory. The gap grew when the question was narrowed down to “religiously affiliated employers” like hospitals (57% were in favor of the opt out, 36% in favor of the mandate).

[…]As Kaus puts it:

If the Times says women were “split,” you know that must mean they were actually narrowly against the NYT‘s preferred position. Sure enough, when asked, “Should health insurance plans for all employees have to cover the full cost of birth control for female employees or should employers be able to opt out for moral or religious reasons?women favored opting out by a 46-44 margin. The margin increased to a decisive 53-38  for “religiously affiliated employers, such as a hospital or university.”

The Times has pushed hard on the idea that the debate over birth control and abortion is hurting the party among women. Yet the actual poll data contradicted anti-Republican anecdotes forwarded by Times reporter Susan Saulny on Sunday suggesting “centrist women” were abandoning the GOP and fleeing to Obama.

CBS News broke the poll results from Republican primary voters down by male and female and found that, despite the liberal media insinuation that the issues of birth control and abortion were scaring away women voters, Republican women were actually breaking toward socially conservative candidate Rick Santorum over Mitt Romney by a strong 41%-27% margin. (Men went for Romney over Santorum 32%-27%.) 

Maybe voters should stop worrying about electability and just vote for the best candidate. With an economy like this, my keyboard could run against Obama and win. The man has failed at everything he has tried in the last 3.5 years.

More about Rick Santorum

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