Santorum urges Gingrich to step aside so he can beat Romney

Updated

The latest polls show tomorrow’s GOP primaries in Alabama and Mississippi are so close that either Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich could win one or both.

According to a new poll from Public Policy Polling (taken March 10-11, 2012), the GOP trio are only two points apart in Alabama and six points apart in Mississippi.  Given the margin of error, these are essentially two three-way ties (with Ron Paul a distant fourth).

Alabama
Romney: 31%
Gingrich: 30
Santorum: 29
Paul: 8

Mississippi
Gingrich: 33%
Romney: 31
Santorum: 27
Paul: 7

But while Gingrich is showing strength ahead of these Southern primaries, he’s still running a distant third nationally behind Romney and Santorum.  And he’s only won primaries in South Carolina and his home state of Georgia.  

Santorum, a social conservative, urged Gingrich yesterday to step aside so he could go head-to-head against Romney, not so much a social conservative.  

While Gingrich vows to go all the way to the Republican National Convention in Tampa, PPP asked hypothetically that if he was out of the race, who would benefit most?  

While it is silly to say, as Santorum hints, that all the Gingrich votes would go to Santorum, radical Rick would clearly benefit the most, gaining 14 points and moving ahead of Romney by a slim margin in both Alabama and Mississippi:

Alabama
Santorum: 43 (+14)
Romney: 31 (+9)
Paul: 8 (+4)

Mississippi
Santorum: 41 (+14)
Romney: 38 (+7)
Paul: 11 (+4)

Santorum still has a shot at winning both primaries tomorrow, but it certainly would be easier for him without Gingrich hanging around.   

Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney

Santorum urges Gingrich to step aside so he can beat Romney

Updated