Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Romney is looking good heading into Tuesday's Southern primaries

Posted By on Tue, Mar 13, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Expect the big guns on all three cable news networks to be deployed Tuesday night as the GOP race for president continues in the Deep South, where Mitt Romney gets on his "y'alls" and references to "Cheesy grits" and tries to steal a couple of wins in Alabama and Mississippi. The once and still front-runner for the 2012 GOP nomination is deadlocked in head-to-head battles with both Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, in what could be some nail-biting election returns tonight.

Although his critics like to bash him for not winning convincingly enough this primary season, and Mitt has admitted that he's not playing on his home turf, polls released on the eve of the elections reveal Romney has a solid chance of winning at least one state, possibly two — though he could end up losing both as well.

And Team Romney got more great news on the eve of the Summit in the South — despite talk (some of it in this space) that the Massachusetts moderate is alienating himself among Latinos and that the Republican party is doing the same with women, Barack Obama is hardly looking like a world-beater, having taken a serious hit in several major polls released on Monday.

The biggest stunner is the CBS/New York Times survey, that has Obama all the way down to 41 percent support, and 47 percent disapproving. It's 46-50 in the ABC News/Washington Post survey.

The surveys show that Obama is getting killed on the big issue, perhaps the only issue in town: the economy. And that's because of something that Americans are feeling every day — escalating gas prices. In the Post/ABC poll, just 26 percent approve of his work on the issue, his lowest rating in the poll. The Post writes that "most Americans say higher prices are already taking a toll on family finances, and nearly half say they think that prices will continue to rise, and stay high."

They may be right. Traditionally oil prices hit their lowest point in the winter and climb back up in the spring based on demand. Though it doesn't feel like it, we're still in winter.

Back to tonight's races. Everybody believes Newt Gingrich must win at least one state tonight to remain viable, but he disagrees. He said last night he's in until Tampa in late summer. But Tennessee Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says if Romney wins one state tonight, it's all but over officially.

"If Romney does well, wins either Mississippi or Alabama and wins Illinois, then I think it's virtually impossible for this thing to continue much beyond early May," he said on Sunday.

Early May? That's still nearly two months away, much longer than Mitt Romney probably ever thought he'd have to sweat it out.

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