Volunteer Surge?

UPDATE: Needless to say, we really blew it in this one. We’re still checking into the reasons. Sometimes the process of randomization will give us a real clinker of a calling list. The same law of averages that makes polling work in the long run allows for this type of outlier. But we’ll do are best to redeem ourselves.

It appears that a late surge in Tennessee by Mitt Romney has closed the early lead that Rick Santorum had just days ago.

Does the plot of this movie sound familiar to you?

While not enough people pay attention to the delegate-heavy Volunteer State (we plead guilty), this beautiful, politically sophisticated area of the nation is important in the election juggernaut. And Romney’s machine appears to have clawed the former Massachusetts governor back into the game after being reportedly down by double digits. (We doubt this had much effect on anything, but our favorite Tennessee campaign moment: Romney’s recitation of the lyrics from Disney’s Davy Crockett.)

Here are our findings from Sunday’s calls:

Date: 3/4//2012 - Participants: 1,023 Likely GOP voters - Margin of Error: ± 3.06%
GingrichPaulRomneySantorum 
29%12%30%29%

We picked up a thread of discussion by Santorum lamenting the continued presence of Newt Gingrich in the race–understandable if you buy into his logic that he would auto-import many of Gingrich’s diehards should the former Speaker drop out. But Gingrich is hanging in there (watch him in Oklahoma, too), and will undoubtedly be a factor on Super Tuesday.

Any of the top three GOP candidates can win in Tennessee. But if last night’s poll is accurate (or even close), Romney will have pulled off an impressive come-from-behind surge in the Volunteer State.

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