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Arizona, Michigan and Ohio: Electability v. Accessibility

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http://blogsensebybarb.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/mitt_romney_rick_santorum.jpg

The way it is:

The GOP candidates face three huge contests over three weeks, and many less significant ones on March 6. Rick Santorum is ahead today according to new polls in both Michigan and Ohio, by 9 and 7 points respectively. The Romney campaign and the super Pac will hammer Santorum, and there is no objecting to its fairness as the Chicago Gang will do far worse. If Santorum hangs on to his lead and wins both states, it is hard to see how he doesn’t go on at least to the convention, and perhaps even lock up the nomination before then. If Romney wins all three, it is difficult to imagine anyone crediting comeback scenarios for Rick or talk of “brokered conventions.”

Newt was in the position Rick now occupies after South Carolina, and Team Gingrich lost its way and his momentum. Rick Santorum has the enviable position of having watched that crack-up and to thus know what not to do when the weather gets stormy. The question is whether Mitt Romney changes the playbook he used in Forida, and decides to go directly at the conservative vote via long periods on talk radio and on FNC. Santorum is the last not-Romney standing because he has been most accessible to the conservative base. Romney has been very measured in his appearances focused on conservative audiences, perhaps choosing to wait until he really needed the time on stage.

By the way, Santorum will be my guest today, as he has been without fail almost every week since he declared, and as he has been on every other platform that would have him. That is why we are down to two: The perceived most electable conservative and the perceived most accessible and thus connected-to-the-base conservative.

Hughniverse

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