Red, white and blue

Marquette professor: Santorum upset in Wisconsin would bring 'a little life' into GOP race

CREATED Apr 2, 2012

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  • Image by MGN / Wikimedia Commons Gage Skidmore

MILWAUKEE - With Mitt Romney in the lead when it comes to support for the GOP nomination for President, the pressure is on for Rick Santorum to win Tuesday's Wisconsin primary.

A Marquette University political science professor believes the Wisconsin primary could be a critical victory for Santorum - if he can overcome what many polls have reported to be a solid Romney lead.

"Santorum, even if he wins Wisconsin tomorrow, he is still an underdog, but maybe a little life is breathed into this contest if he should pull off an upset," said Professor John McAdams to Gene Mueller on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News.

However, Santorum's biggest challenge may be that his biggest voter base - evangelical Christians - are not as big of a percentage as in other states where Romney pulled off victories.

"His traditional appeal in most states has been with evangelical, born-again Christians.  It would be more precise to say theologically-conservative Christians.  That probably won't do it for him in Wisconsin because the percentage of Christians in Wisconsin who call themselves evangelical or born-again is slightly lower than Michigan, Ohio and Illinois.  Romney won all of those states."

With Romney gaining support and endorsements of key Republicans like Janesville Representative Paul Ryan and Senator Ron Johnson, there may also be pressure on Santorum to end the competitive aspect of his campaign soon and put his support behind Romney.

"That pressure will mount, particularly if Romney wins Wisconsin," said McAdams.