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Polls: Romney Slipping Against Santorum, Obama Polls: Romney Slipping Against Santorum, Obama

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

Polls: Romney Slipping Against Santorum, Obama

Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks to supporters at a rally Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, in Plano, Texas. (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)  (AP Photo/Sharon Ellman)

photo of Steven Shepard
February 13, 2012

Rick Santorum has pulled even with Mitt Romney among Republican voters nationwide after his victories in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri last week, according to two new polls released on Monday afternoon.

The latest Gallup tracking poll, conducted Wednesday through Sunday, shows Romney leading Santorum, 32 percent to 30 percent, within the poll's margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is third, with 16 percent, and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is at 8 percent. Fifteen percent of Republican voters prefer another candidate or are undecided.

Meanwhile, a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted over the same time period, shows the former senator from Pennyslvania inching in front of Romney, 32 percent to 30 percent. The result is also within the poll's margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points. Gingrich is at 17 percent and Paul at 12 percent; 13 percent of Republican voters prefer another candidate or are undecided.

 

The Pew polls show Santorum rocketing to the front among more-conservative Republicans. He captures 42 percent of tea party supporters, good for a 19-point lead over Romney, the former governor from Massachusetts. Among white, evangelical Protestant voters, Santorum is at 41 percent--a lead of 18 points over Romney.

Santorum is also surging among less educated voters. Republican voters with a college degree prefer Romney, 39 percent to 25 percent. But those who do not have a college degree pick Santorum, 33 percent to 24 percent.

The bad news for the Romney campaign in the Pew poll is not limited to the Republican primary. Romney now trails President Obama among all voters by 8 percentage points, 52 percent to 44 percent. Last month, Obama led Romney by 5 points, 50 percent to 45 percent.

Santorum trails Obama by a slightly larger margin, 53 percent to 43 percent.

While Rommey is being outflanked on his right by Santorum in the GOP primary, he is also feeling the squeeze in the middle, according to the poll. Independent voters, who supported Romney against Obama last month by 10 points, now tilt to Obama, 51 percent to 42 percent.

In November, 58 percent of independents called Romney "well qualified to be president," but now just 48 percent believe he is. Fifty-three percent of independents in November said that Romney was "honest and trustworthy," but now only 41 percent say he is.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,162 registered Republicans.

The Pew poll surveyed 1,172 registered voters, for a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. The poll included interviews with 552 Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters.

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