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Gallup: Romney and Santorum Would Split Gingrich Backers If He Quit Gallup: Romney and Santorum Would Split Gingrich Backers If He Quit

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The Trail: 2012 Presidential News from the Field / Campaign 2012

Gallup: Romney and Santorum Would Split Gingrich Backers If He Quit

Poll finds voters would not surge en masse to Santorum in GOP primaries.

photo of Jill Lawrence
March 16, 2012

Maybe Rick Santorum shouldn't be hinting so hard that Newt Gingrich should quit the Republican presidential race. A new Gallup poll shows Gingrich's supporters would not necessarily go to Santorum.

In polling March 8-15, Gallup asked Gingrich voters about their second choice for the nomination. The result was an even split: 40 percent chose Romney and 39 percent chose Santorum.

"Gingrich voters would not be likely to coalesce behind Santorum," Gallup analyst Jeffrey Jones wrote. "For many Gingrich supporters, Romney -- not Santorum -- would be their fallback option if Gingrich dropped out."

 

In a race without Gingrich, Gallup calculated, Romney would have 40 percent of the vote to Santorum's 33 percent. The 7-point lead is essentially the same as Romney's 6-point lead over Santorum (34 percent to 28 percent) when Gingrich is included, Jones said.

The Gallup data show that all three candidates are competitive among conservatives. Romney and Santorum are tied for the lead among conservatives at 33 percent, while Gingrich is back at 16 percent. Among "very conservative" voters, Gingrich and Romney each win about one in five. Santorum is the heavy favorite in that group, with 45 percent.

The poll of 1,947 registered Republican voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points. For the 290 Gingrich voters, the margin is plus or minus 7 percentage points.

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