While polls show Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum neck-and-neck ahead of tonight’s crucial Michigan primary, Santorum may hold a trump card, as web sentiment about him became more favorable on Monday, according to the Election Oracle, even as talk about Romney turned more negative.
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.)
The 25-point shift from Friday—Santorum’s favorability rating spiked 12 points to 27 while Romney dropped 13 points to 22—suggests that late-deciding voters are likely to encounter a more favorable narrative about Santorum, which could translate into crucial support. And with his campaign encouraging Democrats and independents to turn out and support him in the state’s open primary (as many did in 2008 for John McCain), and Michigan divvying up delegates by Congressional district, Santorum could be poised to eke out a huge win.