(CNN) - Mitt Romney led the Republican presidential pack in Ohio in a new a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday, and stood in a statistical tie with President Barack Obama in the hotly-contested battleground state.
Ohio holds its primary March 6, Super Tuesday. The heavily-populated Midwestern state carries 63 pledged delegates, a major prize for any candidate seeking the Republican nomination. In November, the winner of Ohio's general election contest will come away with 18 electoral votes.
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Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, led his GOP rivals in the new poll, getting the backing of 27% of registered Republicans. His closest competitor was former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who was at 18% in the new survey. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who was running well ahead of Romney in Ohio a December Quinnipiac poll, stood in third at 17%.
Other candidates were running well behind, with Texas Rep. Ron Paul getting 10% and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 4%.
The lead in Ohio could increase if Romney maintains momentum in upcoming primary contests.
"If he continues to win primaries elsewhere, that margin will likely increase by the time the voting comes to Ohio on March 6," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "But if he should lose his momentum – and some primaries – then that lead might not be safe."
The poll was taken January 9-16, almost entirely after results from the New Hampshire primary were known. Romney won New Hampshire decisively, grabbing 39% of the vote.
In a potential general election match-up with Obama, Romney was at 42% and Obama at 44%. That was within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points. Romney was the Republican who fared the best against Obama in the hypothetical race. Santorum stood at 38% to Obama's 54%, while Paul was at 39% and Obama at 48%. Obama also topped Gingrich in a match-up, 52% to 38%.
Ohio is considered a key battleground in the 2012 election. The state helped propel then-President George W. Bush to reelection in 2004, and bolstered Obama's win in 2008.
The Quinnipiac University poll was taken by telephone, and surveyed 1,610 registered voters, including 542 registered Republicans. The sampling error in the general election match-ups was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points, and the sampling error for the Republican primary was plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.
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I saw a brand new poll just yesterday that had the President ahead of Romney 49% to 43%. I don't believe for a minute that Romney is ahead of Obama. Too many people, Republican and Democrat dislike Romney.
Isn't Ohio where they just had an initiative on the ballot that overturned the union busting legislation passed by their Republican governer? Don't the voters in Ohio know what is going to happen if they put Republicans in charge of the government?
Mitt Romney wasn't concerned about the nation, nor even the people of his home state, Michigan, neighboring state of Ohio, when he stood against the auto bailout, a key industry, not only in Michigan, but the country.It proves that he isn't a friend to the average working person, and he won't be one to the people of Ohio. All of his career at Bain, he didn't care if jobs were eventually added or lost, as long as Bain made hefty profits.He touts himself as a "job creator"; but all he will ever be concerned about is the bottom line, dollars and cents, and his policies will reflect that.
In a potential general election match-up with Obama, Romney was at 42% and Obama at 44%.
The economy is not good and Romney is at his peak while touring the country with lies about Obama on a daily basis so you would expect his numbers to be very high right now, but he is only getting 27% of the registered Republican vote right now and that has to be good news for Obama and the middle class voters. Once Obama starts hitting back and Romney falls from grace this is looking great for Team Obama
The only way Romney could currently beat Obama in Ohio is if they are still using the machines that were programmed to guarantee Dubya's reelection in 2004.
As far as I know, Ohio is known for manufacturing. I'm just curious about how many American jobs did Mitt & Bain destroy. If you're a manufacturer in this country, there's a clear distinction of who's got your back. Case in point: The President saved the auto industry while Willard said let them fail.
ELIZABETH WARREN 2012 & BEYOND
Wow... first time I've been disappointed in my state in a long time. Romney, Santorum, and Gingrich leading? Why bother having an election if it's just going to be between a black Obama and a white Obama? Ron Paul 2012, folks
A vote for romney is a vote against womens' rights. He is a Mormon and he believes women are not equal to males, study the Moron religion, a woman can only go to heave thru the good works of a husband.