In almost every new national poll Rick Santorum performs just about as well as Mitt Romney in a hypothetical general election match up against President Obama. The new national polls out today from AP/GfK and Qunnipiac both have Romney performing only a single point better than Santorum in the general election.


Obama Romney Obama Santorum Romney out performs Santorum
AP/GfK 51 43 52 43 +1
Quinnipiac 46 44 47 44 +1
CNN/ORC 51 46 52 45 +2
CBS/NYT 48 42 49 41 +2
PPP 49 42 49 44 -2

While there might be reasons to believe that at the end of a long general election campaign Romney would eventually prove to be more electable than Santorum, the current polling shows that they both do basically as well against Obama.

The irony of this situation is that throughout much of the early part of the campaign, the GOP base didn’t believe Romney was the most electable candidate despite general election polls showing him significantly out performing his top rivals. As recently as the South Carolina primary on January 21st Romney lost badly to Newt Gingrich among voters who ranked electability as their top priority, even though national polling showed Gingrich would do terribly against Obama.

It is only now that national polls are starting to indicate that Romney doesn’t do any better than his top rival that the Republican base has begun really buying Romney’s electability argument. Gallup found that the GOP base sees Romney as much more electable than Santorum.

Which Republican candidate do you think has the better chance of beating Barack Obama in November -- [ROTATED: Mitt Romney (or) Rick Santorum]? February 2012 results

Given the number of national polls now showing Santorum running about as strong as Romney in the general election, the Santorum campaign should be working hard to turn around this electability argument before Super Tuesday. Being able to defeat Obama in November is very important to most Republican primary voters.