The latest results from Gallup's daily tracking poll indicate Rick Santorum has overtaken Mitt Romney nationwide and now leads the former Massachusetts governor by an eight-point margin.
According to the poll released Sunday, 36% of registered Republicans said they are backing Santorum, while 28% prefer Romney.
The new numbers represent a five-point drop for Romney since Wednesday, when the candidate was statistically tied with his opponent, 33% to 31%.
Meanwhile, Santorum has jumped five points in the same time period.
The survey was conducted Tuesday through Saturday, more than a week after Santorum snatched a trio of victories in Missouri, Colorado and Minnesota. One day before he pulled the big upset on February 7, Santorum was in third place in the daily tracking poll with 16%.
There are growing calls for an alternative to Mitt Romney as the Republican standard-bearer, with the names of Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie again being seen as the most likely saviors.
With concerns over Romney rising after a series of gaffes and polls showing him losing to Rick Santorum in Michigan — a state in which he was born and raised — and with a protracted primary fight ahead, some Republican activists are desperately looking for alternatives. Most concede that it’s late in the game and such a scenario is highly unlikely.From The Boston Herald:
A slumping Mitt Romney must snap out of his malaise, show some fire and remind voters how he’ll rebuild America — or risk handing the nomination to Rick Santorum and jeopardizing the GOP’s White House chances, pundits told the Herald yesterday.
“He’s lost his mojo,” said Michael Dennehy, a senior political adviser to John McCain in 2008.Byron York offers a smart take:
"If he's not on his social crusade, he's a really dangerous candidate," says a well-connected Democratic strategist of Rick Santorum. "When he talks about the importance of manufacturing in America, he's talking straight to Clinton Democrats. But when he talks about states being able to outlaw contraception, he goes over the edge and he's too far gone."