Can Rick Santorum Win the 2012 GOP Nomination?

Rick Santorum's campaign gains momentum in the days leading into the Iowa Caucus.

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After spending months in the bottom tier of the GOP 2012 race, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum's campaign has picked up momentum in the days leading into the Iowa caucuses. Santorum has spent more time in Iowa than any other candidate, where his views on social issues (he promises to bring back "don't ask don't tell" to the military and he opposes any federal funding of birth control) appeal to conservatives, who forma powerful voting bloc in the GOP. At an event Tuesday Santorum told Iowans that a decline in family values like marriage is behind the country's economic struggles. The last month has seen Santorum rise in Iowa polls by 10 percentage points, and attendance to his events is growing.

[ See pictures of the GOP Candidates Heading to the Iowa Caucus.]

Though many other candidates have experienced similar upticks in popularity that proved temporary, Santorum's boomlet might be hitting at the right time, as next Tuesday's Iowa caucuses will officially get the ball rolling on the Republican primary process. Even if Santorum doesn't  win in Iowa (he is currently polling behind former Gov. Mitt Romney, Rep. Ron Paul, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, and is neck and neck with the rest of the middle tier), he thinks that a better than expected showing is all he needs to keep his new-found momentum going. He told the Wall Street Journal  that his campaign will "become the conservative alternative" if he beats the other prominent conservatives like Gingrich and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, and then "we'll have a lot of good states." However, the extremely conservative social views he has become known for may not be as appealing nationwide as they are in Iowa.

What do you think? Can Rick Santorum win the GOP 2012 nomination? Take the poll and comment below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Previously: Would You Like to See a Third-Party Candidate in the 2012 Election?