The morning's news from Suffolk University's pollster showed Santorum down to 9 percent, tied with former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman. That's after surveys earlier in the week portrayed a bump for Santorum, garnering 11 percent of respondents compared to his previous 3 points of support.
The decrease comes after several days of news stories on his Granite State townhalls and the sometimes heated arguments he's found himself in with voters there over his position against gay marriage.
But down in South Carolina, his was the only of three state headquarters visited by this reporter showing signs of bustle and activity. Texas Gov. Rick Perry's Columbia office (previously occupied by now-Gov. Nikki Haley during her campaign) was manned by a sole (though helpful) staffer this morning.
Two miles away, the doors at Mitt Romney's West Columbia office were locked around mid-morning.
The Santorum camp's Palmetto State war-room is farther southeast, just outside the coastal city of Charleston. There, the door was open and several volunteers from Spartanburg were assembling yard signs and manning the phones.
Aides there said phones have been buzzing since Wednesday, but they found a local reason to cheer from this morning's Berkeley County GOP straw poll.
That survey from the neighboring county had Santorum with 52 percent, followed by Newt Gingrich at 25 percent and Romney with 13 percent. What was unusual was that Berkeley County, like much of the state's coastal region, went handily for John McCain in 2008.
As social conservatives and faith-based groups here continue to ponder whether they can and should coalesce behind an anti-Romney, the Santorumites have another big backer planned for unveiling tomorrow.
The Washington Post reported this afternoon that Christian conservative activist Gary Bauer, himself a former Republican presidential candidate, will be endorsing Santorum at an event in Greenville.
That move comes as Bauer and various other evangelical leaders are planning a summit in Texas next weekend to debate whether they can agree on a single candidate to support.