- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2012

A new Rasmussen Reports polls gives GOP presidential contender Rick Santorum a double-digit lead going into the Louisiana primary on Saturday, putting the former Pennsylvania senator on solid footing to carry some additional bragging rights out of another Deep South nominating contest.

The survey shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney running second and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich running a distant third — a snapshot that suggests the Mr. Gingrich’s claim that his energy plan can drive the price at the pump down to $2.50 a gallon isn’t catching hold as much as he’d like.

The survey of 750 likely GOP voters in Louisiana gave Mr. Santorum 43 percent and Mr. Romney 31 percent. Mr. Gingrich received 16 percent and Texas Rep. Ron Paul was last with 5 percent.

There are 46 delegates up for grabs in Louisiana, which will be divided up on a proportional basis, meaning that even a significant Santorum win may not do much to cut into Mr. Romney’s substantial lead in overall delegates.


Mr. Santorum won the primaries in neighboring Mississippi and Alabama last week and hopes to score another win before the race shifts back to a part of the nomination calendar that features states that are expected to be more hospitable to Mr. Romney. Maryland, the District of Colombia and Wisconsin all hold winner-take-all primaries on April 3.

Other Louisiana polls also have shown Mr. Santorum leading the race, ahead by anywhere between 4 and 13 percentage points.