By Dave Andrusko
Our last political update for the week addresses two separate but related issues: how the leading pro-life Republican candidates; and how match up against pro-abortion President Barack Obama and how they are faring (as measured by polls) in the upcoming Michigan and Arizona primaries.
Rasmussen reports that Obama is leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 6 points—48% to 42%. That is one point more than CNN/Opinion (51% to 46%) and two points more than Democracy Corps (49% to 45%).
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has comparable numbers, although slightly further behind the President. Rasmussen has him trailing by the same 6 points (47% to 41%). CNN/Opinion has him trailing by 7 points (52% to 45%), and CBS/NY Times has Santorum back 8 points (49% to 41%) in a poll that begins earlier than the other two.
With respect to Michigan and Arizona, which hold primaries on February 28, each candidate is ahead in one state.
In Michigan, three recent polls show Santorum leading Romney.
The poll released by the Detroit News shows the narrowest margin. Among likely Republican primary voters, Santorum leads 34% to 30%, which is within the margin of error.
The MRG Michigan Poll shows Santorum with 43% of the support to 33% for Romney.
In the middle are the results of the Mitchell poll was done for the Michigan Information & Research Service. In this poll Santorum is at 34%,Romney at 25%.
In all three polls pro-life former Speaker Newt Gingrich is third and pro-life Rep. Ron Paul fourth.
In Arizona, Romney is has a nine point lead, according to Rasmussen’s telephone poll of likely Arizona Republican primary voters–39% to 31%. Gingrich is third with 15% and Paul fourth with 7%. There are no other recent polls, except one conducted earlier in the month by Rasmussen.
RealClearpolitics.com, which provides an invaluable service by posting individual and aggregate polling data, shows Santorum ahead in all six recent polls of Republicans nationally. Two polls show him well ahead, but the other four show Santorum up by only 2 points (in three polls) and 3 points one.
President Obama’s job approval numbers have crept up (from 47% in mid-January to 50% in mid-February), according to a recent CBS News/ New York Times poll. Likewise, the percentage of people who say the country is on the right track (a key index) has moved from very, very low (29%) to very low (35%).
“While these factors likely contribute to the better poll results for President Obama, the increase is also attributable to the more heated Republican campaign,” according to Yahoo’s Denys Dean. Since Republicans are determined to defeat President Obama, it is fair to say that once Republicans come together around a nominee, the picture will improve considerably.
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