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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This just in, Santorum locks up the racist hick sporting pitch forks vote.
Wow, nicholas, 20 minutes.....almost the length of the average sitcom.
I am soooo glad to hear this...I would much rather see Santorum get stomped by Obama than Romney...either way it's a lost cause. Just makes it easier for Obama if Santorum gets the nomination...
I understand that no canidate is perfect. but i am 20 years old, it is my first time being able to vote and I really don't think I like any of them. Even if i find someone who kind of has my views, that doesn't mean that they will be a good president. I looked on politifact.com, and all of them literally have more lies on tally than truthful statements. Can i vote for someone that lies like that? If i turned in an essay to my professor that was 50% correct, i would fail the course! how can a country be run like this!?
At least Santorum tells the truth, not what you want him to say. Romney is such a phoney and superficial man I am delighted Santorum is gaining.
The only reasons Santanorum is doing better is b/c Romney keeps messing up with his big mouth, the whole Catholic birth control issue, and the fact that all of the GOP candidates suck.
Every person, man and woman, should be very scared of Rick Santorum. I don't care which party you are registered in.
I see only one clear winner here. Barack Obama.
Oh Boy here we go again. Anyone want to guess who will get the first question and what it will be about for the debate. My money is on King again making a fool of himself and this time asking Santorum . "Do you really think Satan is involved in this ?" Any one else have a good guess? CNN may sensor the truth but here it is.
Doesn't matter, GOP is going to lose because they allowed the extremists in. That was a lucky stroke for Obama.
America needs Mitt Romeny. A lot of Democrats will vote for Romney.
Santorum pulling off an upset in this primary, would be the best gift that President Obama will ever get.
I just hope Santorum continues Rick Perry’s fight against the President’s war on Religion…come November…should Torquemada-torum become the nominee.
Only the Blessed Govenor Perry thus far has been courageous enough to stand up for Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny in the President’s war on Religion.
What's Obama done, jimbrown, to make you brand him a " radical environmentalist'? Give a damn about the quality of the air we breatha nd the water we drink, or is it that he makes people/corporations a little more responsible for their actions? By the way, more offshore oil leases under Obama than Bush, even with the Gulf Disaster. Learn something before you post.
Arizona is irrelevant, we have already written them off to having lost their sanity a year or so ago...
Hmmm. Rick Sanctimonium, or The Rombot. Tough call, but I think I'll stick with Obama.
What a joke 4 hundred something they asked. Some poll CNN. How can the survey sampling have any errors if you actually talked to these people.
Santorum would do for America what Ahmadinijad has done for Iran.Create a religion of intollerance, where the government dictates how 51% of the population (women) live.If men were told that their bodily functions were to be controlled by the religous agenda of an overzealous theocrat, there would be a revolution
So who is paying CNN to moderate every Political statement I make? Make yourself clear on who you are rooting for so we can quit participating in your fascist moderation.!
Thank you Lord, please give us Santorum!
We all want to live under the THEOLOGY OF SANTORUM DOCTRINE!!!!
This is silly. This part of the race will be all over the map before summer and after summer too.
This should be easy for the Republicans though. I mean, Obama – worst President in history, foreign born, muslim, communist, socialist, took a sweet situation from 8 years of Bush and wrecked it. Yes – I am starting to see the landslide now.
Wow what a choice, Rick Sanctimonium, or Myth Rombot? No offense but I'll stick with Obama.
Vote them all out and bring OWS to mainstream politics for real change we can believe in!
Mind the Gap
...GOP Underground :-)
I hope santorum is the gop nom... it will ensure an Obama win.