Santorum Surging BIG TIME

Three pre-vote polls conducted yesterday and this morning all show Rick Santorum leading in Minnesota and in Missouri by healthy margins over media darling Mitt Romney.

RealClearPolitics had Santorum holding a 33-24-22-20 lead over Romney/Gingrich/Paul (in that order) in Minnesota and a whopping 39-25-21-9 margin over Romney/Gingrich/Paul in Missouri on the eve of battle.  One should note that with these primaries thus far in 2012, the momentum has been crucial to winning states – Santorum surged at the last moment in Iowa and won it, Romney had a big gain over Huntsman and Paul right before New Hampshire and won that handily, Gingrich surged a second time in SC and then faded before Florida resulting in a win in SC and a bad loss in FL.  Having a positive surge before a vote seems to be key even if the polling numbers don’t show you ahead when the votes are cast…and in this case, Santorum IS ahead when the votes are cast.

In Colorado he’s polling a strong second to Romney right now but has been surging upward there as well despite not visiting the state and choosing to focus on Minnesota.

I’ll have results for you when they are finalized!

ETA (10:34 PM EST): It’s early yet in Minnesota and Colorado, but Santorum has a commanding lead in the early returns in all three primary/caucus states – Missouri’s beauty contest with 75% reporting has gone strongly to Santorum (with FIFTY-FIVE PERCENT of the vote!) and with 25% of Minnesotan votes counted, Santorum leads by a solid 17% margin over second place RON PAUL! with Mitt Romney in third.  OUCH!

ETA (11:03 PM EST): Santorum is declared the official winner of Minnesota and of Missouri (non-binding, but certainly sending a message)…and his lead in Colorado continues to be impressive early on.

ETA (1:08 AM EST): Santorum will have gotten 44% of the Minnesota vote and 55% of the Missouri vote when the dust settles…in Colorado, with about half of the reporting done, it’s neck and neck between Romney and Santorum with the surging social con holding a slim lead, but Denver not having yet reported.  I’m guessing Romney will win the state…but it will be very close.

FINAL ETA (6:13 AM EST): Santorum has surprised me yet again and come away with a convincing win in Colorado.  Meanwhile, Romney had his first truly lousy showing in any state, finishing a distant third in Minnesota and a very distant second in Missouri.  This changes the game quite a bit.

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