Public Policy Polling:
Rick Santorum is headed for a commanding win in Louisiana on Saturday. We find him with 42% to 28% for Mitt Romney, 18% for Newt Gingrich, 8% for Ron Paul, and 2% for Buddy Roemer.
It's interesting to look at these numbers in the context of last week's results in Alabama and Mississippi. Mitt Romney averaged 30% in those two contests, and that's about where he is here. Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich combined for 64% in those two contests, and they combine for a relatively similar 60% here. The big difference though is that conservative voters appears to be abandoning Gingrich for Santorum now, and that's why Louisiana is likely to be much more lopsided than either of last week's contests were. If Gingrich was completely out of the race Santorum would have a 22 point lead, 53-31, over Romney here with Paul at 11%
Santorum's entire lead in Louisiana is coming with the furthest right factions of the Republican Party. He leads Romney 50-23 with 'very conservative' voters, 44-22 with Tea Partiers, and 51-23 with Evangelicals. Santorum also appears to have the late momentum on his side. Among those who've decided who to vote for in the last few days he's at 47% to just 25% for Romney. That suggests he could end up winning by an ever wider margin than he has in this poll.
Romney's up only 37-33 in urban areas, which have been one of his strong suits. He's running slightly behind Santorum, 38-29 in suburban areas. And he's getting absolutely crushed, 50-23, in rural areas. Southern Republicans still aren't warming up to Romney. His 49/41 favorability rating runs far behind both Santorum (70/22) and Gingrich (59/30).