Santorum Iowa Bump: New GOP Poll: Romney 29%, Santorum 21%

Politics   Steven Ertelt   Jan 5, 2012   |   1:47PM    Washington, DC

A new national Republican poll has pro-life Republican presidential candidate Santorum gaining enough ground following his surprise second place finish in Iowa that he now comes in second nationally with all GOP voters.

Santorum, after trailing Mitt Romney by merely 8 votes in the Tuesday Iowa caucus vote, is now in second place among Republican voters in the race for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination, according to a new Rasmussen poll.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey, taken the night after the caucuses, shows Romney again in first place with support from 29% of Likely Republican Primary Voters, followed by Santorum with 21%,” Rasmussen noted today. “Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who led the pack in late November with 38% of the vote, now runs third with 16%.”

Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the third place finisher in Iowa, picks up 12% of the vote, up from eight percent (8%) in the previous survey Rasmussen conducted. Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman both pick up the support of four percent of voters.

Although Santorum picks up a sizable percentage of support, pollster Scott Rasmussen says Romney’s level of support has returned to previous higher levels.

“For Romney, however, his level of support has returned to where it was in October,   after dropping to 23% at the beginning of November and 17% by month’s end as support for Gingrich surged among Republicans looking for a more conservative candidate to deny the former Massachusetts governor the nomination,” he noted. “Santorum who many now see as the chief anti-Romney candidate has rocketed from four percent (4%) in the previous survey and one percent (1%) at the beginning of November.”

Rasmussen also indicates GOP voters are not sold on their current candidate.

“It’s important to note that just 34% of likely GOP primary voters say they are certain of their vote at this time,” he said. “Fifty-five percent (55%) say they still could change their mind, and 11% don’t have an initial preference yet. Those certain of their vote include 44% of Paul’s supporters, 43% of those who back Romney and 40% of Gingrich’s voters. Just 30% of those who support Santorum are certain of their vote at this time.”

“Evangelical Christian support was considered key to Santorum’s strong showing in Iowa, and the former Pennsylvania senator leads among Republican voters who are Evangelical Christians with 28% support. Romney and Gingrich are next with 21% and 18% support respectively among these voters,” he said. “Romney is the top voter-getter among other Protestants, Catholics and Republicans of other faiths, with roughly one-third of the vote in each group.”

Romney is now viewed favorably by 68% of Republican voters, closed followed by Santorum who is seen that way by 63%. Fifty-two percent (52%) have a favorable opinion of Gingrich. The other candidates have higher unfavorables than favorables among GOP voters – Perry (49%), Huntsman (47%) and Paul (59%). One-in-four voters (25%) still say they don’t know enough about Huntsman to even voice an opinion of him.

Among Republicans who consider themselves members of the Tea Party, Santorum is on top with 29% support, followed by Romney and Gingrich who earn 24% each. Romney is far ahead among non-Tea Party Republicans with 34% of the vote.