DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) —  Rick Santorum was quick to point out Wednesday that while he came in a close second to Mitt Romney in Michigan, he won nearly the same amount of delegates.
But that message may have been lost.  Already, Romney has shot back up in the national daily tracking polls of the Republican Presidential primary.
In a new poll by Rasmussen, Romney leads Santorum by 16 points, 40 to 24.
Newt Gingrich has 16 and Ron Paul has 12.
Gallup’s poll Wednesday showed Romney ahead of Santorum 33 to 25.
The question for Santorum: can he keep the momentum he had during most of February?
As Santorum has said repeatedly, if you don’t like the state of the race, wait a couple of weeks, and it will change.
And it may be changing just days before the all-important Super Tuesday, March 6th, when voters in ten states go to the polls.
Romney leads the delegate count so far with 157 delegates according to CBS News.
Santorum has 58, Gingrich 30, and Paul 15.
Candidates need 1,144 delegates to win the party’s nomination.  On Tuesday, more than 400 delegates will be up for grabs.
Romney could add to his lead with victories in Massachusetts, where he was once Governor, and in neighboring Vermont.
He’ll also likely win in Virginia where only he and Paul are on the ballot.
Gingrich leads in his home state of Georgia, which offers the most delegates Tuesday with 76.  That would certainly help Gingrich.
But the real test will come in states like Ohio where 66 delegates are at stake, and Tennessee, where there are 58 delegates.
Both states are diverse, and while Santorum holds the lead in polls in both states, many expect they will narrow.
Some analysts believe Santorum lost some of his momentum in Michigan after making a number of gaffes.
But if he can re-gain the momentum, and win Ohio and Tennessee and many of their delegates, that will slow Romney’s march toward the nomination and prolong the race.
That would again lead to new questions about Romney’s electability.
The stakes are high Tuesday.
If Romney wins more states than expected, including Ohio and Tennessee, the race may be over.
At that point, many analysts believe he would be well on his way to becoming the Republican to take on President Barack Obama this fall.
A lot can still happen in five days.