Romney tops poll but Santorum favored by Virginia primary voters

Paula Duffy's picture

Mitt Romney has a strong lead over Ron Paul ahead of the Virginia GOP primary. Rick Santorum is not on the ballot but voters give him high favorable marks.

In the latest Roanoke College poll results, Mitt Romney leads Ron Paul 56% to 21% among people who say they are likely to vote in Virginia's March 6 primary.

Without Rick Santorum in the mix the voters will be forced to make a choice that doesn't accurately reflect their preference when polled about favorable vs. negative feelings towards the candidates.

The poll results published on Thursday March 1 reveal that "Santorum had the highest favorable rating (47%) followed by Romney (36%), Paul (29%), and Gingrich (25%). Santorum was the only candidate to have a higher percentage of favorable impressions than unfavorable".

Santorum and Newt Gingrich were unable to file the necessary paperwork to get on the Virginia ballot by the deadline which proved problematic for those that didn't plan ahead. In December 2011, when the GOP field also included Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman, the Virginia ballot requirements cause quite a stir. That story here.

Gingrich was livid at being left out and said at that time. "Only a failed system excludes four out of the six major candidates seeking access to the ballot. Voters deserve the right to vote for any top contender, especially leading candidates."

Santorum's high favorables, as the poll calls them is not surprising in a state that swept the GOP into power in both houses of the legislature as well as the governor's office. His stance on abortion and birth control mirrors the majority of the legislators in Virginia.

It has been in the headlines in the last two weeks, all thanks to its a battle over a bill that would have required an internal sonogram prior to a woman getting an abortion in the state.

Governor Robert F. McDonnell was a strong supporter of the bill that passed the Senate until he wasn't. The requirement that the sonogram be administered internally, with a transvaginal probe caused a stir on a national level, causing McDonnell to rethink his position on the eve of the legislation being debated in the state House of Delegates.

Gov. McDonnell a staunch anti-abortion politician had been strongly rumored as a top candidate for the VP job particularly if Mitt Romney became the party's standard bearer in the general election. He began to face questions on a daily basis about what some called forcible rape.

With the government mandating the sonogram that in the vast majority of cases is medically unnecessary McDonnell was queried about who should pay the cost of the exam, that healthcare plans wouldn't cover

Without good answers, McDonnell switched camps and the bill that was amended in the Senate to remove the transvaginal probe requirement and an exception for women seeking abortions after cases of rape or incest is in the House of Delegates for consideration.

While Romney is poised to take another state's primary, Rick Santorum was campaigning in Washington ahead of Saturday's state caucuses

Image credit: Wikimedia Commons/Matthew Reichbach

Add new comment