Santorum takes lead in Tennessee
February 10th, 2012
02:20 PM ET
2 years ago

Santorum takes lead in Tennessee

(CNN) - Rick Santorum is running ahead of his rivals in Tennessee, a stronghold of evangelical Christians that votes on March 6, Super Tuesday.

Thirty four percent of likely Republican primary voters said they were backing Santorum, while 27% named Mitt Romney, 16% backed Newt Gingrich and 13% picked Ron Paul. The poll was taken by American Research Group February 8-9, when voters would have known about Santorum's sweep of voting contests in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.

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Among voters who said they support the tea party movement, Santorum led his rivals at 40%. Gingrich was second among the tea party supporters with 21%, and Romney had 17%.

Santorum's lead in Tennessee is a strong rebuke to Gingrich, was has been competing with Santorum to present himself as the more conservative alternative to Romney.

Romney placed third in Tennessee's GOP primary in 2008, losing to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who was regarded at the time as the leading candidate among social conservatives and evangelical Christians. Sen. John McCain, the eventual nominee, came in second.

Tennessee's Republican electorate is staunchly socially conservative: 73% of Republicans in the state identified themselves as "evangelical" or "born again" in 2008 GOP primary exit polls. In total, 58 delegates will be awarded from the Volunteer State.

The American Research Group poll was taken by phone February 8-9 from 600 likely Republican voters. The sampling error was plus or minus four percentage points.

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Filed under: 2012 • Rick Santorum • Tennessee
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. GROVER NORQUIST IS A ENEMY OF THE STATE

    I'm shocked that Surpreme Leader Ayatollah Santorum is beating Newt in a southern state. That's very odd. I guess once Newt begins throwing around some racial epitats he'll pick up momentum. If not, he's done!

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
    ELIZABETH WARREN 2012 & BEYOND

    February 10, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. NVa Native

    "They believe rights come from government," said Satanorum – he wants rights to come from his religion of choice – this is exactly what the Taliban says.

    February 10, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Nothing new here

    Who cares?
    Evangelical voters do not speak for the whole Republican party.
    Matter of fact, evangelicals don't speak for this entire country as a whole.

    February 10, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Go Santorum, Go! Santorum is flying with a big "S" on his chest. During his CPAC speech, he actually said jobs take a back seat to social issues. Makes you wonder who is really serving up the red meat to the hard right; Pres. Obama or the GOP field.

    February 10, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    From day one we were saying this “We don’t want Romney” even local GOP establishment not listing to us
    Our governor’s father working for Romney Campaign
    If Romney is GOP nominee we will stay at home in November may be GOP will lose 2 to 3 congressional seat may be one senate seat in Tennessee

    February 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. gb

    "The American Research Group poll was taken from ... 600 likely Republican voters"

    why even bother reporting this??

    February 10, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. NVa Native

    Watch the video clip of Satanorum on the floor of the house during the Terri Schiavo debacle with all the GOP heretics swarming and fondling each other all around him in some perverse prayer orgy.
    Many of these GOPits are still in Congress and are even more religiously radical now than before – and their ring leader – Satanorum – wants to be their high priest and your President.
    This is proof that the GOP does want government to control your life.

    February 10, 2012 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. dentalflstyc

    "Among voters who said they support the tea party movement, intelligent design, family values, and are also anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, and anti-moon colony, Santorum led his rivals by 97%."

    February 10, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Please please please please please nominate Santorum please please please please. Would love to see all 50 states be Blue on the election map in November. Please please please please please nominate Santorum please please please please.

    February 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  10. Larry in Houston

    Santorum takes the lead in Tennesee ? WoW ! I sort of figured "the newter" would have carried Tennesee. lol
    Tell you what – IF Santorum can take Texas, which has an approx. population of 28 million, ( not necessarily voters) Newts out. Santorum needs to stay in Tx – and get the "hands on" treatment – and make sure it goes Viral. Then he will know by that time, he will carry Texas.

    February 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Lee

    Way to go Tennessee!!! Show that GOP establishment you are not afraid to pick a candidate with zero chance of being elected!

    February 10, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  12. Thomas

    Rick Santorum / Michelle Balkman

    2012 the way we were.

    February 10, 2012 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. V in Chicago

    I do not what spiritual guidance from the White House. If I feel the need to connect with my creator, I'll go to church. This guy will push his religious agenda down our throats and we will be a church run country if he gets his way. PLEASE LEAVE YOUR RELIGION OUT OF THIS MR. SANTORUM! We all do not follow the doctrine you are trying to throw at us. I don't care how you believe, but keep it to yourself!!! And, get the He!! our of the way of women's rights to health care!!! How dare you!

    February 10, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  14. V in Chicago

    I have yet to hear anything from Santorum about creating jobs or helping the economy. This man is more suited to have one of the evangelical Sunday morning shows than he is to run the Country. Thankfully, most of the rest of the country see him the same way. I guess the Republicans are now officially at the bottom the barrell with their "any but Romney" search. Give it up guys. You've already lost. Obama will be re-elected!

    February 10, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  15. MBelleville

    Buddy Reomer will have the last laugh and the GOP will regret that they didn't embrace their most electible candidate.

    And I am hoping when Buddy Roemer is elected POTUS that within his campaign reform is a plan break up the monopoly that the corporate-owned media has inclotrolling the message...from who gets covered, to who gets included in the polls, to who gets to debate.

    Debates should do back to the League of Women voters and PBS

    February 10, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |