Part of the reason for Santorum’s surge is his own high level of popularity. 64% of voters see him favorably to only 22% with a negative one. But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich. Romney’s favorability is barely above water at 44/43, representing a 23 point net decline from our December national poll when he was +24 (55/31). Gingrich has fallen even further. A 44% plurality of GOP voters now hold a negative opinion of him to only 42% with a positive one. That’s a 34 point drop from 2 months ago when he was at +32 (60/28).
Romney bought carried CPAC with 38%, which means (for those of us doing the math) a full 62% of the supposedly locked up “base” voted against Romney as their candidate of choice.
Meanwhile, Ron Paul appears to be on the verge of a make-or-break Maine primary contest after having ditched CPAC… or after having been wholesale uninvited to CPAC according to folks on the ground.