His voting base has always been conservative evangelical Protestants, who also make up a high percentage of the voters fixated on making abortion illegal, a particularly strong Santorum demographic.Yup. I didn't watch a whole lot of the TV coverage last night, but there was quite a bit (and I think I was mostly on CNN) about how Santorum had supposedly lost it by talking too much about social issues. Well, I suppose that there's always some way to get the emphasis slightly better, but look: that's his campaign. That, politically, is who he is. He's been campaigning from the start on social issues and a hawkish foreign policy; the economic stuff is really just an occasional attitude, as far as I can tell.
I guess the other part of this is that while the pundits and reporters who pay close attention to all of this know exactly who Rick Santorum is and what he stands for, it's important to remember that many rank-and-file Republican voters really don't. Not until the campaign comes to their state. So Santorum's choices aren't as easy as some make them out to be; soft peddle his strengths too much (in order to please the national audience, for example), and voters just tuning in may not realize why they should support him over Romney in the first place. After all, it's not as if Romney will allow any actual, current policy differences to appear. And I think a lot of Santorum's appeal, presumably, is that he's actually willing to come out and make strong claims. It's not just all dog whistles and cute references with him. Of course, if he was more skilled candidate...but of course he isn't, is he?
At any rate: good catch!