Rick Santorum's convincing win in Saturday's Louisiana Republican presidential primary was fueled by the same groups that have supported his candidacy in other contests—but the state's more conservative and more religious GOP electorate also allowed Santorum to defeat Mitt Romney among the constituencies that have gone for Romney in the past.
Exit polls show Santorum continuing to run well among the most conservative, less educated, lower- and middle-income voters that have propelled him to wins in other Southern and Midwestern states. His inroads into some traditional Romney constituencies included first-time wins among non-evangelical voters and voters who make more than $100,000 a year.
Santorum's campaign called his "bayou blowout" a game-changer, asserting that "this two-man race is just beginning." But Santorum's stronger performance in Louisiana is unlikely to alter the race significantly.
Romney remains well ahead in the delegate race, and on April 3, when the next slate of primaries will be held, it will be outside the South in Maryland, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia. In Maryland and Wisconsin this week, automated-telephone polls (which do not meet National Journal's standards for publication) showed Romney well ahead of Santorum. Santorum is not even on the ballot in The District. Read more
—Steven Shepard, Hotline Polling Editor
NATIONAL JOURNAL'S PRIMARY REPORT
Louisiana Results Suggest a Two-Man Race
[New York Times, 3/24/12] According to the latest results out of Louisiana and other contests, the Republican presidential nomination is a two-person race—but not according to Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. After his third place finish in Louisiana, however, the delegate math just isn’t adding up for Gingrich, one of his delegates suggested.
Plouffe: Romney is 'The Godfather of Our Healthcare Plan'
[National Journal, 3/25/12] While making the rounds on Sunday morning talk shows, Obama senior advisor David Plouffe spent much of it defending the presidential signature health care legislation. Although he gives President Obama due credit, Plouffe gives a shout out to the man he calls the law’s “godfather” — Mitt Romney.
Eerie Santorum Ad: 'Welcome to Obamaville'
[National Journal, 3/25/24] In an ad that looks straight out of a Alfred Hitchcock movie—crows and all—the Santorum campaign is attacking the president with a bit of dramatic flair. The ad, entitled “Welcome to Obamaville,” describes in dramatic detail what the campaign says towns will look like under Obama in 2014. Hint: It looks bad. Eerie, even.
Rep. Paul Ryan Won't Close the Door on VP Bid
[National Journal, 3/25/12] House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, D-Wis., hasn’t ruled out a potential vice presidential nod, he said Sunday. However, he said that he is neither looking to join a ticket nor giving it much thought.
Plouffe: Gingrich, Santorum Comments on Martin Case 'Reprehensible,' 'Irresponsible'
[National Journal, 3/25/12] Plouffe said the responses by Newt Gingrich and Santorum’s to President Obama’s comments on the death of Trayvon Martin were “trying to appeal to people’s worst instincts.” On Friday, Gingrich called the president’s remarks “disgraceful.”
Ryan: Romney Will Enact My Budget
[National Journal, 3/25/12] Making it easier for Democratic opposition researchers, Ryan said that Romney will back his recently-released budget if he becomes president. Democrats, including Plouffe, are grabbing hold of this audio and calling the proposal the “Romney-Ryan plan.”
Graham Attacks Santorum, Gingrich on 'Sound Bite' Afghan Positions
[National Journal, 3/25/12] The Republican presidential candidates have attacked President Obama over his drawdown policies in Afghanistan. But Sen. Lindsay Graham, R-S.C., said today that the candidates should develop their “sound bite” positions and follow what the generals are saying on the ground.
Santorum Energizes Supporters in Wisconsin
[Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 3/24/12] Next up for the Republican candidates: the Badger State. Another industrial Midwestern state that is a swing state for November, the state’s 37 delegates are up for grabs on April 3. Santorum said he has the momentum moving into the state's primary and held rallies across there on Saturday, even getting a chance to go bowling.
Barbour: Romney’s 'Moderately Conservative' Views Will Help in the Fall
[National Journal, 3/24/12] Former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said he was unimpressed with Romney’s inability to wrap up the nomination on Friday, saying the distractions after his big primary wins have harmed his image. He also contends, however, that Romney’s “moderately conservative” views will rally support in the fall.
Gingrich: Santorum Has to Win Pennsylvania
[National Journal, 3/24/12] Similar to talk surrounding Romney and Michigan, Gingrich said on Saturday that Santorum has to win in his home state of Pennsylvania to keep his campaign alive. Santorum was on the stump in the Keystone State on Saturday, evoking his Pennsylvania past and getting nostalgic. He said that his crushing 2006 defeat by now Sen. Bob Casey was a “tremendous gift,” since it allowed him to get some distance from Washington.
Santorum: ‘We’re Still Fighting’
[Wall Street Journal, 3/24/12] After his win in Louisiana, Santorum gave his victory speech not at a grand hall or an arena, but at a sports bar in Green Bay, Wis. “We’re still here, we’re still fighting,” he said defiantly to the small crowd of family, staff and fans.
Kennedy Helped Shape Romney’s Career, and Still Haunts It
[New York Times, 3/24/12] Romney’s relationship with the late Sen. Edward Kennedy has shaped the former Massachusetts governor’s political career—and is still brought up negatively today. From his bitter Senate race to the signing of the health care legislation, Kennedy serves as a constant reminder of Romney’s past.
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