Some recent polling nicely captures the state of the Republican presidential race. In Louisiana, a conservative stronghold, Rick Santorum leads Mitt Romney narrowly, 25 percent to 21 percent, in one poll of likely primary voters. (Romney gets 5 percent of the vote in the congressional district that includes the city of New Orleans.) In another conservative bastion, Texas, Romney leads Santorum 32 percent to 30 percent in a Rasmussen Reports survey. Both states award their delegates — 201 in all — proportionately. Meanwhile, in California, a winner-take-all state, Romney leads Santorum 43 percent to 23 percent in another Rasmussen survey. That state has 172 delegates.
In short, Santorum can’t make up a 230-plus delegate deficit by losing big winner-take-all states and dividing with Romney his “strong” states that award votes proportionately.
Santorum is madly spinning, of course. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Stopping to shake hands with voters and grab a quick lunch of barbecued pork ribs, Rick Santorum said he did not need to win Tuesday in Alabama and Mississippi, downplaying his chances against Mitt Romney’s front-runner status and Newt Gingrich’s home field advantage.
“We just have to continue to do well,” he told reporters after lunch. “We’re going into Newt’s backyard and obviously Gov. Romney’s coming off a big Super Tuesday. We’ve got to come in here and do well, and I think from all the polls we’re doing very well.”
Umm, so where is he going to win? When Santorum’s flack says, “Our big states are down the road,” you have to wonder whether he really believes that.
In fact, Santorum needs to be winning states like Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas going away and to be able to win some winner-take all-states. It doesn't look like either of those things are happening.
Now Santorum is reducing to hurling wild accusations. Romney is a ”socialist” and Fox News is “shilling” for his opponent. (In fact, if you watch election-night coverage, the Fox team bends over backwards to downplay Romney’s wins and suggest weaknesses in his candidacy.) Whatever. This is nutty, and voters know it. He sounds increasingly cut off from reality, which is very possible, given that he operates with a tiny circle of longtime pals who seems never to present bad news or words of warning to their flagging candidate.