I haven’t seen anyone in the national media covering this, but… Rick Santorum’s (already formidable) grassroots organization in South Carolina is just the tip of the iceberg.
Santorum has been in South Carolina a lot over the past two years. While other candidates have rolled through the state with over-produced campaign appearances that insulate them from all but the highest-level party leadership, Santorum has been in dozens (hundreds?) of living rooms and spoken at – and hung around after – every Republican meeting, breakfast or picnic.
(Stop me when this starts to sound familiar, Iowans.)
In other words, he’s met activists and spent one-on-one time with them. If you’ve shown even a passing interest in Republican politics in South Carolina over the past two years, you’ve met Santorum and you’ve probably had an actual conversation with him. (And you probably appreciate the fact that he’s shown the state more personal attention than all of the other candidates combined.)
So why the low poll numbers (so far) in South Carolina? The most common refrain you heard at Santorum events in South Carolina over the summer and fall was: ”I really like Santorum, but I don’t think he has a chance.”
What if he does have a chance?
If Rick Santorum comes out of Iowa with momentum, watch for the numbers to spike in South Carolina and the Santorum yard signs to fly out of the campaign offices.
Rick Santorum has an unreported “just add water” campaign structure in South Carolina – people who have met him, who know him and who like him… but who have flirted with other conservative candidates because they never thought Santorum would still be around by the South Carolina primary. (But they were hoping…)