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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I think he is just TOO scary.
Yes, yes, everything is proceeding as I have foreseen. Hahahahaha!
Breaking news: President Obama will be reelected.
This is the most insane primary I have ever seen. This is a sorry bunch of candidates. I do not know what any of them stand for other but their typicak talking points. I would really respect a candidate in either party that is against the death penalty and against abortion and only sends our sons to war when all other options have been exhaused. (That would be a President I would vote for)
Newt called Obama the worst President in history...Newt said the same thing about Ronald Reagan when Regan talked Nuclear Arms reduction with the USSR....Newt who has a PHD in history has a terrible memory of his own past...that is a sign of mental illness...Remembering the past in a way that is different from reality....and old news room video...showing Newt say Reagan is the worst President in history...
my god, romney is being slaughtered by the biggest loser to run for office. how that must feel. i had hope for someone to vote for, did not even care about the party. the republicans are such losers. this is what happens when you get greedy and dwell on the dark side. i guess i am voting for obama
You poll 467 people and decide that Santorum is neck and neck with Romney. I just polled my household including my dog and have decided that 100% of all Americans laugh and point at the media....+ or – 3 points
Santorum scares me. I'm not ready to revert to the 18th century.
look at the catholic church and what they have done to the kids and are still hiding facts today. you want santorum running this country? have you all lost your minds?
I thought Romney was bad. Santorum's views on women, education, and the role of religion in our government is downright medieval. Santorum just emerged from the Dark Ages and needs to go back into his hole of ignorance.
A greater sample will be more indicative of people's political inclinations (only 467). I do not believe in the holy than thou Santorum. His actions do follow his mouth, he preaches to be religious, but his charity contributions are only up to 2 %.,. And Gingrich better think about his exit, time to save face.
When at the White House, they turned their backs to the White House and stood in silence for 1 second for every service member thats died since Obama took office – 20 minutes!
Dont you mean "since BUSH took office" ?
Obama has wound down Iraq, and working on Afganistan.
One minute for every soldier that died for 20 minutes, thats 20 dead.
How many died under Bush ?
How many of millions of Iraqi's under Bush ?
You are PATHETIC !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Welfare recipients will always vote Obama!
Anyone but Romney!! We need someone real to run in November and Romney is not real. He is manufactured, bought and paid for.
Santorum thinks his wife is his own property...that he owns his wives body, has control over it...that men are better at making religious decisions about every woman body....and Santorum thinks that way of thinking is going to sell to all American women, and their husbands, and fathers....
Someone help us!!!!!
Why is it that cnn won't give Ron Paul any coverage???????? Even while I was watching a debate, CNN barley let the man talk, WHY???? I'm Canadian and it spins my head that people actually will vote for people like these guys. Although when I hear Ron Paul speak, I personnely feel he tells it like it is. These other guys spread fear throughout uneducated Americans who will actually vote for these men. And, in my opinion USA
has got to seperate god and politics
lol, every candidate get a turn at winning a primaries, thats only fair so they can raise money (millions) for their super pacs. What a ******** waste if money
I believe Santorum will win the nomination. Romney will be left high and dry in shock and disbelief. This is great news for Obama and the Dems. Obama will crush Santorum in general election by picking up most all the independents. Santorum is a twisted christian fanatic. This shows, GOP is no longer a political party but instead a right wing Christian organization bent on forcing all Americans to become christian and accept their agenda. This is a nation of over 300 million people with different views and faiths. We should have the freedom to believe any faith or not. That's the American way.
Is the GOP even trying? Santorum already lost an election. He only appeals to fringe groups who are obviously the only ones showing up to the primaries. :(
Ron Paul and the liberty movement is the only answer to the 2012 election. Any other candidate vs. Obama is a guaranteed re-election for Obama and American socialism. Its about time the neocons pulled their heads out of their asses, face that reality, and forget about the Santorum, Romney, and Gingrich. Get behind the old-school conservative principles of the liberty movement. Ron Paul has been elected to congress 12 times, and remained ideologically pure throughout... the other GOP clowns are massively incompetent & unelectable in comparison.
... and I would NEVER vote for ANYBODY who home-schools their children... talk about a cult....
I agree with Matt at 5:01. CNN has been a major let down. Especially Gloria Borger going on and on about nothing . Then John King and even the Blitz pitting the candidates against each other. They would no do that to the Dems. Shame on you !!!
Santorum is an insane Religious Zealot and his views of women are scary. It's a sad state of affairs whan a Dbag like that can get a single vote. I would rather vote for Bin Laden than him.