Poll watch: Michigan tightens, Santorum opens up huge lead in Texas and Romney’s closing argument

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The latest from the GOP presidential primary:

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Michigan shows Rick Santorum leading Mitt Romney by just four points in the GOP presidential race, 37% to 33%, followed by Ron Paul at 15% and Newt Gingrich at 10%.

Key finding: “The tightening over the last week is much more a function of Romney gaining than Santorum falling. Santorum’s favorability spread of 67/23 has seen no change since our last poll, and his share of the vote has dropped only 2 points from 39% to 37%. Romney meanwhile has seen his net favorability improve 10 points from +10 (49/39) to +20 (55/35) and his vote share go from 24% to 33%.”

Meanwhile, A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows Santorum has a commanding lead in the Republican presidential race with 45%, followed by Gingrich at 18%, Romney at 16% and Paul at 14%.

Texas still doesn’t have all of its congressional and legislative maps in place so May 29 appears to be the earliest possible primary date.

Will the race even last that long?

“The Mitt Romney crisis transcends the seven straight national polls showing Rick Santorum in the lead,” writes Walter Shapiro. “It goes beyond the embarrassing reality that the son of an auto executive and two-term governor has been behind in every Michigan poll conducted since Groundhog’s Day. Even more devastating for Romney is that elite Republicans have begun to conclude that he cannot, if nominated, beat Barack Obama. About the only argument that still works for Romney among GOP insiders is that he would be less of a drag on the ticket than the strident Santorum or the mercurial Newt Gingrich.”

“With the exception of Mike Dukakis (what is it about governors of Massachusetts?), it is impossible to recall a top-tier presidential contender who aroused such little passion among the voters.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.