Mitt Romney is likely to follow his resounding Florida primary victory with another convincing win in Saturday's Nevada Republican caucuses, according to a new poll conducted for the Las Vegas Review-Journal and KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.
Forty-five percent of likely caucusgoers say they would vote for Romney, according to the poll, which appeared in Thursday's editions of the Review-Journal. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is second, with 25 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is third, with 11 percent. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, runs fourth, with 9 percent.
Ten percent of likely caucusgoers are undecided.
Romney won Nevada's caucuses easily in 2008, earning a 51-percent majority of the vote, as he chose to focus some of his attention on the Silver State while his competitors concentrated their efforts in South Carolina, which held its primary on the same day. Paul was a distant second, with just 14 percent. The eventual GOP nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, was third, with 13 percent.
Exit polls from 2008 showed Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, winning a staggering 95 percent of the vote among Mormon caucusgoers, who comprised slightly more than one-quarter of the electorate in 2008. In the new poll, Romney wins 86 percent of LDS caucusgoers, with no other candidate in double-digits.
Meanwhile, Carl Bunce, the Nevada chairman of the Paul campaign, dismissed the poll results, according to the Review-Journal. He told the newspaper that most Paul supporters refuse to participate or lie in surveys because the McCain campaign in 2008 used automated telephone calls to identify Paul supporters and then sideline them at the state party convention, where delegates to the national convention would be allocated.
"A lot of the political activists don't answer those polls, or answer falsely," Bunce told the newspaper.
The poll was conducted Jan. 27-31, mostly prior to Romney's win in Florida. The Cannon Survey Center at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas surveyed 426 likely Republican caucusgoers, for a margin of error of +/- 4.7 percent.