The latest polling, released at 6 p.m. Wednesday, showed a neck-to-neck race between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in Tuesday’s Michigan presidential primary.
But those results were released two hours before Wednesday’s Republican debate, which could very well tip things in Romney’s favor.
By many accounts, Romney performed better than Santorum, who fielded many attacks from both Romney and Ron Paul. At many times, Santorum seemed flustered, especially when the former senator defended his early support (now reversed) for No Child Left Behind and defending the Congressional practice of earmarking as a “transparent” way to fund projects.
In what could be considered a weakness for Romney in his native state – his opposition to the GM bailout – Romney seemed to hold his own. That’s mostly because his chief opponent, Santorum, also opposed the bailout.
Instead, the two candidates bickered back and forth, claiming the other was inconsistent for supporting earlier bailouts.
In a primary debate season in which Romney has committed some hilarious gaffes, he came out Wednesday as disciplined, aggressive and on message. Romney even appropriated some of Santorum’s social conservative focus during the debate by talking about his efforts to protect embryos and fetuses during his stint as Massachusetts governor.
Add this all up, and it seems Santorum’s chances on Tuesday are weakening.