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Santorum’s surge

Rick Santorum is having the surge from hell (if you are Team Romney) or from heaven (if you are Team Santorum).

By the time you read this, perhaps everything will have changed back to the status quo ante, but polls from all over the country and by different polling organizations all show Rick Santorum having the surge from hell (if you are Team Romney) or from heaven (if you are Team Santorum).

Among national Republican likely voters, Public Policy Polling tweets that Santorum has taken over the lead. Nate Silver tweets that looking only at the Wednesday phone calls, Gallup has national Repubs dividing Romney 32; Santorum 32; Gingrich 16.

The suddenness of the surge is reflected at Fox News, which has a tracking poll that normally aggregates the past four days of results. Take the whole four-day poll and it’s Romney 34; Santorum 22; Gingrich 18. But if you break the sample in half it shows the surge dramatically changing the state of the race on Thursday. If you look just at Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s results, it’s:

  • Romney: 35
  • Gingrich: 26
  • Santorum: 17

But then the combined results from Thursday and today:

  • Romney: 30
  • Santorum: 30
  • Gingrich: 16.

To the limited degree that such a brief phenomenon can sustain such analysis, it suggest that Santorum is drawing new support away from both Romney and Gingrich.

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A new Pittsburgh Tribune-Review poll out on Pennsylvania Republicans shows Santorum surging into a tie with Romney there. Sure, it’s Santorum’s home state, but it was also his home state six weeks ago, the last time the newspaper took the poll and he has more than doubled his support while Gingrich has dropped from first place to third.

And Tennessee is not Santorum’s home state. In fact, Gingrich is counting on big wins across the South to keep him afloat. But American Research Group has Santorum in the lead there.

I can’t find evidence of fresh polling out of Michigan or Arizona, the two key states coming up next (and both are states in which Romney has built-in advantages. Keep an eye open for those. But keep taking some salt with your poll results.

Friday night Update: It’s only one day of a planned three-day poll of likely Michigan primary voters by Public Policy Polling, but PPP tweets that Santorum leads in the day one numbers. Romney grew up in Michigan and his father was a very popular governor there. Salt salt salt but this is an impressive surge.