Mesa, Arizona (CNN) – On the eve of the final Republican presidential debate before primaries in Arizona and Michigan, as well as the 10 Super Tuesday states, a new survey indicates that Rick Santorum may be closing the gap with Mitt Romney in the Grand Canyon State.
According to a CNN/Time/ORC International poll released Tuesday, 36% of people likely to vote in Arizona's February 28th GOP presidential primary say they're backing Romney as their party's nominee, with 32% supporting Santorum. The former Massachusetts governor's four point margin over the former senator from Pennsylvania is within the survey's sampling error, meaning they are basically tied for the top spot.
See full results (pdf)
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The poll indicates that 18% are backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with 6% supporting Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and 6% unsure. Surveys conducted earlier this year by other organizations indicated Romney with a larger lead over the rest of the field of candidates.
Santorum surged in state and national polling after sweeping the February 7th contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri.
The four major GOP White House hopefuls will face off Wednesday at a CNN/Republican Party of Arizona debate in Mesa, the first GOP showdown in nearly a month.
The CNN/Time/ORC poll indicates that roughly a third of all likely voters say that they could change their minds between now and February 28, emphasizing the importance of CNN's debate as well as the final week of campaigning.
"Arizona Republicans display many of the same ideological divisions that drove the results in earlier primaries and caucuses," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Santorum wins the born-again vote in Arizona by nine points but loses among non-evangelical Republicans by 12 points. Romney loses by three points among tea party supporters but has a 15-point lead among Republicans who oppose the tea party or are neutral toward it."
The new poll indicates that Arizona's geography may also play a big role in the battle for the state's 29 delegates at stake in the primary, which are winner-take-all.
"Romney has a 10-point lead in urban areas, but manages no better than a tie in suburban and rural Arizona. As a result, Romney is ahead in Maricopa County but is tied, 33% to 33% in the rest of the state," adds Holland. Maricopa County is where Phoenix and its surrounding cities are located and represents roughly 60 percent of the state's population.
"Class and gender may also play a role on February 28, with Romney doing best among Republican women and among GOPers who describe themselves as white collar," Holland notes.
Michigan, the other state that votes on February 28, has 30 delegates up for grabs, which will be divided proportionally.
The CNN/Time poll was conducted by ORC International from February 17-20, with 467 registered Republicans who are likely to vote in the Arizona GOP presidential primary questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5% points.
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@Nicholas LOL a 1000 person rally in DC is NOTHING. You can get a 1000 person flash mob there on any given day. FAIL.
The GOP will lose the election if they go with anybody but Romney. I'm an independent and will not vote for a religious zealot. I also will not vote for Newt either, why the GOP thinks they can win with the extream right is beyond me, but I am sure that most of America is center right, not far right or left.
Yesterday was a historic event in our capital that mainstream media blatantly ignored. Over 1000 troops marched from the Washington Monument to the White House chanting "President Paul", "End the FED", and "End these wars". When at the White House, they turned their backs to the White House and stood in silence for 1 second for every service member that's died since Obama took office – 20 minutes! Then proceeded to have a rally for Ron Paul. Where is your coverage of this? If the troops did that for any other candidate, it would be front page news everywhere. Ron Paul also gets 2/3s of all military donations to presidential candidates, including Obama.
What does your comment, DEMs, have anything to do with a poll of Arizona Republicans? There is the war the GOP has declared on anyone who does not fit their worthless, backward social agenda that flies in the face of American traditions. Good luck living with your hate after November, because you certainly won't have power.
Tell me CNN, why are you putting this out as breaking news and saying "The polls may indicate?" Either they do indicate or they don't indicate... pick one... it is your poll. Tell us what it does indicate and stop the "may indicate" crud,
You have to understand the Arizona Republicans are the most radical in this nation. Santorium will say anything and is saying everything to get there votes.
What would you expect from Gods western waiting room, last chance to get religion before that last big trip
I CAN NOT WAIT to see which of these clowns is going to LOSE in November! Keep talking, Republican fools, keep talking!
Has any one heard of Ron Paul or are we just going to keep avoiding him. RON PAUL for 2012.
"467 registered Republicans who are likely to vote in the Arizona GOP presidential primary"
That should read: "467 registered Republicans OVER THE AGE OF 50 who are likely to vote in the Arizona GOP presidential primary"
Santorum is a nut case !
The only reason I am a GOP registered voter is to vote for Mitt in Ca.(probably a lost cause since the you-know- who
...illegals are taking over here).
CNN is trying their very best to sway the results here. They of course don't mention the other poll out today that shows Romney up by 10 points. Also, with Santorum up by 2 in Michigan they aren't so quick to point out that is a statistical tie. Can they even spell BIAS at CNN?
I say give Arizona,South Carolina,Mississippi,Texas,And Alabama to these guys and let each canidate run them. And leave the rest of us alone.
"Obama's declaration of war on religions in this country and on the 1st ammendment have the dems running scared ..."
WHAT "war on religion"? Last time I checked, everyone was free to go to church five times a day if they felt like it. There is no "war on religion" beyond the people who are sick of being told by the church how to live finally standing up and saying so.
I want the country run by people I elect, not by a bunch of 80 year old Catholic bishops.
I hope Santorum is the nominee. I want to see him get destroyed by Obama. Though to be fair, any of the candidates could be destroyed by Obama. Yeah, even Ron Paul, sorry cultists.
This makes me sick. This is a man who thinks a rape victim who gets pregnant should think of it as a "gift from God" and "make the best of a bad situation."
Romney is not wearing his flag pin! That should be worth a few percentage points. Torquemada-torum hadbetter jump on that....and quick.....
Well, seeing as how turnout is around 5%, that means Santorum has about 1/3 of 5%, or less than 2% of the Republicans will vote for him. I consider that a protest vote.
Obama is a radical environmentalist that puts trees and rocks ahead of human beings. Obama also tramples freedom of relgion. Santorum seems to be the only honest man in the race who will actually fight to protect everyone's rights.
If the Republicans are stupid enough to nominate Santorum, then they deserve the re-election of Obama which will inevitably follow. The middle will never tolerate the risk of the imposition of Santorum's theocratic vision of America.
Santorum is 100% worthless. He has no real experience. No real platform. I don't know why Mitt isn't the nominee already – he has great credentials and a track record of success in business and running a state. I voted for Obama and if Santorum is nominated, with his idiotic far right platform of values, then I and a bunch of other moderates will probably vote for Obama again. Santorum is not presidential material – maybe president of a high school class, but not the most powerful nation on earth.
Cnn and all other Liberal media outlets are pushing santorum because they are trying to help The Obama reelection...They are trying to force the Republican primary vote...There is no doubt in my mind
Santorum is Opus Dei just ike the conservatives on the Supreme Court.
Explain how this can be news when Santorum is NOT tied with Romney as the story says and he is 4 points behind. CNN just looking for some attention like a red headed step child or something.
I never trust the polls anyway. Hell they probably poll people coming out of a Home Depot or McDonalds.
Just give him a big enough hole or a long enough rope. No matter what the polls say, the rest of America doesn't agree. We all can't be that stupid.