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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"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."
Non-evangelicals and people who oppose the tea party fall within the "moderate" category which actually wins elections . The GOP reminds me of Canada's Liberals – too concerned with picking the leader they actually want, neglecting the one who can win an election. Mitt Romney is a a demonstrably capable fiscal manager and social pragmatist who could potentially beat Obama.
A troubled conservatve.
With any luck Santorum will get 86'd in a campaign bus crash.
This is getting just too amusing. Can't wait for the convention. More special effects than the best disaster movie from Hollywood. Pass the popcorn!
And yet, it doesn't matter which one of these jokers is sent up to face President Obama. America needs a leader, not a panderer in the White House and thus Obama will be back for another four years. Hopefully with a Congress that will do something besides sit on it's hands and throw temper tantrums.
No surprise. Arizona is full of racist so I'm sure they are with Santorum when he pledges to keep white's money out of black's hands.
Santorum pulling ahead as the favorite would be an early Christmas present to the Obama campaign.
Ah hah! I found it. At first the present these poll results as a poll conducted on Feb. 20, 2012 (yesterday). If you read the linked PDF of the actual poll and get to the actual results for Arizona you'll see that the poll was conducted Feb. 17th – Feb. 20th. Something tells me a lot of strongly independent and wise Arizonans were aghast at the comments made by Santorum yesterday, Feb. 20 and I look forward to seeing a new poll. The more he opens his mouth the more hate and dominionist theocratic sanctimony and deceit comes out.I don't think the snide innuendos about the President's faith are going to help.While he stopped insinuating that Obama is a secret Muslim but yesterday said that Obama's faith is a "radical environmentalist form of Christianity". Give me a break! This is not going to increase his approval ratings in Arizona. I hope the people of Arizona didn't sleep through this three day weekend and that Santorums rabid words yesterday come back to haunt him. Watch for the next poll in Arizona if there is to be one and you'll see that I'm correct. The timing here is really suspect.
All Tied Up in Arizona ? Are You Kidding me ? WoW !! okay – then – IT IS , What IT IS.
I hope Santorum Crushes Romney !! Hope he also does it in Michigan too !!
Vote Democrat – 2012 Straight Ticket !!
Obama/Biden 2012 then H Clinton/ whoeva 2016 til 2024 lets take this country the United States of America again not America no more republicans they are robbing this country they have gone global
The GOP establishment are panicking right now. They know this guy can't beat Obama.
Just how has Barack Obama made this country a better place ? How ???
If you are unemployed he has not created the millions of jobs he said he was going to. HE only added trillions to the U.S debt. He vilifies you if you are rich but would have no problem taking a re-election donation from you. HE is now going to tell you how it is going to be if you are a Catholic. DEEP DOWN IN THIS MAN'S SOUL, HE DISLIKES THIS COUNTRY AND MANY OF US IN IT.
I got fast hemorrhoid relief using a natural supplement called Hem-eez. Hem-eez gave me fast relief and naturally.
It still amazes me how the media ignores Ron Paul. Ron is in 2nd place for God's sake, not RIck.
The love between GOP and Rick
might seem to made by Cupid
But golly gee, you'll pardon me,
If it looks pretty doggone stupid.
Our founding fathers were concerned about the separation of Church and State for good reason. Santorum does not respect this. Romney... I'm not so sure.
Please no Santorum. This man is from another world and has no respect for the women. Please wake up people and let Mitt be the next president. CNN you are so Obama it's disgusting.
Why are we even following this .... with the small percentage of GOP voters ,voting in each state are we really seeing what the majority of the GOP wants...... its not worth the time or energy ...... the majority of GOP doesn't see a difference in either to come out and vote.......... if they dont care why are we ........ ?
GOP – What a bunch of CLOWNS. Maybe they should throw Boehner or McC or sappy from SC in their race. They have been doing so good and working to help the middle class survive so well. (not)
NEWSFLASH: THIS JUST IN: It doesn't matter who the republican nominee is, they will lose, and rightfully so. So can you please stop acting like most people care about what is going on with the republican nomination process? We just don't, so sorry...
It’s over for Romney. He’s lost Independents (69% unfavorable opinion, Pew Research) and he’s loosing endorsements. You can’t recover from that.
The GOP is having a real problem in some states with voter turn out...many Republicans are just too disgusted and embarrassed by these GOP candidates to go and vote for anybody on the GOP election ticket....So do the ones that are voting look like the Grim Reaper?
I don't usually vote for the GOP so I really don't follow the ideological differences between them. What I can tell you is I am impressed with what a scrapper Santorum is! Virtually no money, spends his time connecting with the real people, not just making speeches and running a well funded PAC campaign. Didn't drop out when things got tough and he was behind. If he makes it as the GOP candidate, I'm definitely going to consider voting for him.
Keep it up GOP, I am enjoying this soap opera, where the 3 stooges cut up all day, making an idiotic scene. Ron Paul should run as a 3rd party candidate, because the GOP boat is sunk. I am no fan of Obama but the 3 Stooges have no place and no chance at the White House.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm if Santorium runs this country...I need to take my shoes and run.............
What the media won't do to hype up the GOP debate this Wednesday. Seriously? Santorum? The guy is not a leader. He has no presence in a room of people and will fail to get anything done as president. I like the idea of Romney, I could care less whether the guy was for then against abortion, maybe he had a change of heart but leave it up to him and his conscious. We should be looking at a guy's ability to lead. Romney's record supports that of a great leader. Anyone who suggests otherwise has not looked into his record. I'll say it again, seriously? Santorum? Blame the so called "Christian evangelicals" for making Obama's re-election so easy.
The ultra-right-wing comments will appeal to voters in Arizona. Since many of the independents and moderate Republicans have decided to avoid the primary the "crazies" will select the Republican candidate. Santorum should do well with that crowd and Paul will appeal to the isolationists along the border. The Clown Car rolls on...