Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Santorum Surge: Underdog Candidates Push for Surprise Iowa Caucus 'Win'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Santorum Surge: Underdog Candidates Push for Surprise Iowa Caucus 'Win'

Article excerpt

A new Iowa caucus poll appears to show Rick Santorum surging at just the right moment, rising into third place as Gingrich falls. But he's not the only underdog hoping for an Iowa surprise.

Rick Santorum appears to be surging at just the right moment, with a new poll showing him rising swiftly into third place among likely attendees at the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.

For the former US senator from Pennsylvania, it's confirmation that his persistent efforts to meet Iowans face to face are paying off. Already, other polls had shown him rising to 10 percent support in the state.

The new poll shows Mr. Santorum at 16 percent, just ahead of a sagging Newt Gingrich but behind Mitt Romney (25 percent) and Ron Paul (22 percent). The CNN/Time/ORC survey was conducted between Dec. 21 and Dec. 27.

The upward arc for Santorum also symbolizes something broader - the volatilty of the Iowa race and the hopes of other underdog candidates to make last-minute surges that could revive their campaign hopes.

The Iowa caucuses are a volatile affair spanning precincts around the state, with results affected by hard-to-predict turnout and last- minute appeals by the candidates.

Along with Santorum, Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota face what many analysts see as make-or-break moments in the Hawkeye State. A surprisingly strong showing could propel one of them forward to compete in the next string of primaries.

But a weak showing could finish their campaigns. And they are campaigning like they know it.

Ms. Bachmann has been on a bus tour covering all 99 counties in the state. Governor Perry's bus is stopping at many of the same places, while his better-funded campaign keeps rolling out TV ads.

Each of them draws respect from Christian conservatives in the state, and Santorum has recently won some key endorsement from that camp. …

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