Poll: Romney Leads Among Likely GOP Primary Voters, Santorum Rising

But Newt is still hanging in

(Rasmussen) Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, coming off his photo finish with Mitt Romney in the Iowa caucuses, is now in second place among Republican voters in the race for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.

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%. 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.

The two remaining Republicans in the race, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, each earn four percent (4%), marking essentially no change from late November. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

That’s a huge jump for Santorum, who was sitting at 4% at the time of the last poll. Mitt jumped up from his previous 23%. The question for Santorum is, can he keep it going, or will he be the flavor of the week? Particularly when some are calling him weird for bringing his dead baby home. The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg puts it thusly

There is much I don’t like about Rick Santorum’s ideas, but the story of how he and his wife dealt with the tragic death of their baby is not something that bothers me. Pete Wehner has an appropriately indignant post, quoted below, about the attacks on Santorum over this issue (and he summarizes the sad story as well), but it strikes me as indecent to criticize the loving, if discomfiting, behavior of people who have just suffered the worst possible tragedy known to humankind. In in a different context (while discussing this column, about a father who made the ultimate sacrifice for his child), Pete pointed me to a quote from Euripides in which he described the death of a child as “the grief surpassing all.”

Santorum has been attacked by all manner of Democrat operatives, such as Alan Colmes and Eugene Robinson, and, yes, I do find it a little weird, but, then, it’s really not my business how he and his family handle their grief. It’s also kinda weird for parents to keep their child’s bedroom exactly as it was for years, if not decades. Many people, including commenters at Goldber’s article, and while listening to Jason Lewis, say “well, would you do it?” Here’s another question: how will the American voting public perceive personal attacks on a man and his family who were grieving for the loss of their baby? Personally, I think they will find it inappropriate, insensitive, and disgusting, and the attacks will backfire.

Oh, and when it comes to Ron Paul, well, shocker of shockers, his supporters released a video attacking Jon Huntsman for speaking Chinese and adopting a Chinese girl. It’s a typical Paulian assault on Huntsman personally. Some have called this “racist“. Huntsman has called on Paul to disavow the ad. Surprise, he hasn’t. You stay classy, Paulians!

Crossed at Pirate’s Cove. Follow me on Twitter @WilliamTeach.

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