The Santorum camp is laying it all on the line in Michigan and Ohio, and why not? If the blue collar pitch he's been using since standing on the steps of the Somerset courthouse is going to pay off anywhere, it has to be there. Here's the strategy, from Politico:
The privately held hope in the Santorum camp is that beating Romney in his native state of Michigan or in the ultimate general election battleground of Ohio would discredit, on a grand scale, the on-and-off Republican front-runner and make the other candidates in the race irrelevant in the remaining contests.
“If we can get it to a two-person race, I feel very confident that we will be the nominee,” said Santorum strategist John Brabender, who explained that the campaign is assessing where to play based on the number of delegates at stake and the cost of competing in each state.
. . . On his own arguments the proper course for [Gingrich] now is to endorse Santorum and exit.
Santorum has been conducting himself rather impressively in his moments of triumph and avoiding characteristic temptations. He is doing his best to keep the press from dismissing him as merely a “social-issues candidate.” His recent remark that losing his Senate seat in 2006 taught him the importance of humility suggests an appealing self-awareness. And he has rightly identified the declining stability of middle-class families as a threat to the American experiment, even if his proposed solutions are poorly designed. But sensible policies, important as they are, are not the immediate challenge for his candidacy. Proving he can run a national campaign is.
A new PPP poll in Michigan has him up 15 points over Romney and beating him in every county except Oakland. Democrats and independents are helping the surge.
Santorum has been doing increasingly well in national polls too. And this is exactly the right time for him to seize that, given his other disadvantages, says the WashPost's Fix blog:
We’re getting to the point in the race where national polling matters more and more, because the next stretch of the campaign will be fought in basically one-quarter of the country.
Santorum’s campaign, while seeing an uptick in fundraising in recent days, is still the most meagerly funded of the campaigns that remain. He will still be outspent, and probably significantly so, in the next phase of the campaign, and he will probably be outmanned, too.