Santorum Wins Louisiana But Fails to Grasp Country’s Problems

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum exceeded many analysts’ expectations on Saturday by winning the Louisiana primary by a large margin. The former Pennsylvania senator received 49 percent of the vote; Mitt Romney’s placed second with 26 percent. Santorum is touting this win as evidence that the American people are not set on Mitt Romney as their nominee, but polls increasingly say otherwise. State-by-state contests are the status quo in picking a nominee, but whoever ultimately wins the presidency will have to govern the entire country. Although Santorum may be able to deny Romney the necessary delegates to clinch the nomination, he will have a hard time claiming that he is the candidate most Americans would like to see as president.

Santorum’s wins are coming in states where voters seem to be more comfortable with Santorum’s Catholic faith than Romney’s Mormon faith. Exit polls in Louisiana showed that 43 percent of voters said it mattered a great deal that a candidate share their religious faith. Possibly as a result, Santorum won 56 percent of white evangelical voters. Romney has had trouble connecting with Republicans in states with large evangelical populations, but he has done quite well in states where the evangelical population is much smaller. Evangelicals tend to be so-called “values voters” who rarely vote based on on economic issues, which have been Romney’s focus.

As a country, the economy is much more important than the fringe value issues that have dominated Rick Santorum’s campaign. A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted earlier this month found that 51 percent of Americans picked unemployment and jobs as the most important issue facing this country, while only 4 percent selected miscellaneous social issues, and 3 percent selected family/moral values. While Santorum sometimes touches on economic issues, he is definitively the social issues candidate. He is more than happy to spend valuable campaign time talking about religious freedom and abortion rather than jobs and economic improvement.

Santorum can claim that he is the true conservative for the rest of the campaign, but voters don’t seem to care. Republicans may not be overjoyed with Romney, but they seem to be accepting him as the logical choice. According to recent Rasmussen Reports, 83 percent of voters now believe that Romney is going to be the nominee. Additionally, the next major primary is Wisconsin, where Romney currently holds a double-digit lead in polls. Romney may not be the most conservative candidate for the Republicans, but the nation as a whole seems to think he is a better choice than Rick Santorum, even if the 91,000 people who voted for Santorum in Louisiana disagree.

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