After Newt Gingrich’s brutal loss in Florida, could Rick Santorum emerge in February as Romney's final challenger?
The Web seems receptive to Santorum, whose favorability rating of 51 on Wednesday was dramatically higher than Gingrich’s -37, according to the Election Oracle. His rating, a measure of the positive or negative tone of the conversation online, has been consistently higher than those for both Gingrich and Romney through most of January. (The two frontrunners, of course, have continued to be mentioned far more frequently than Santorum).
To determine favorability ratings, the Election Oracle tracks 40,000 news sites, blogs, message boards, Twitter feeds, and other social-media sources to analyze what millions of people are saying about the candidates—and determines whether the Web buzz is positive or negative. That rating is weighted, along with the Real Clear Politics polling average and the latest InTrade market data, to calculate each candidate’s chances of winning the Republican nomination. (See methodology here.)
While Santorum has struggled to build support after his belatedly-called and razor-thin victory in Iowa, the former Pennsylvania Senator said Wednesday he was committed to staying in the race "until the end." Santorum, who placed a distant third in Florida, has resisted calls from the Gingrich camp for him to step aside so that the anti-Romney Republican vote can consolidate around the former speaker. But with Gingrich again reeling, Santorum—who Wednesday delivered what his advisers billed as a "major address" taking on both Romney and Gingrich—may have one more shot to emerge as that alternative.
The Election Oracle is updated with new data every weekday morning.Email: Oracle@newsweekdailybeast.com. Twitter: @ElectionOracle