Poll: Gap shrinking between Romney and Santorum in Arizona
February 25th, 2012
11:15 AM ET
2 years ago

Poll: Gap shrinking between Romney and Santorum in Arizona

(CNN) – A poll of Arizona Republican primary voters released Saturday shows Mitt Romney with a slight advantage over his closest rival Rick Santorum, though the gap between the candidates is shrinking.

The survey from the American Research Group showed Romney with the backing of 39% of likely primary voters, compared to 35% who support Santorum. The poll was taken February 23-24, entirely after CNN's Arizona presidential debate, which took place Wednesday. Arizona voters go to the polls Tuesday.

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The gap between Santorum and Romney narrowed since the last time ARG polled Arizona voters. In a survey taken February 13-14, Romney led Santorum 38%-31%, meaning support for Santorum jumped 4 percentage points, while backing for Romney saw an increase of only 1 point.

Support for the candidates appears to be split along ideological lines. Santorum led Romney 43%-32% among tea party supporters, but among voters who said they did not support the tea party, or are undecided about the movement, Romney led 44%-25%.

The two other candidates in the race were far behind the two frontrunners. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich stood at 11% in the poll, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul was at 9%.

Gingrich's spot in third place represents a steep drop. In the last week of January, Gingrich stood at 32% in the ARG Arizona poll.

Early voting in Arizona already favors Romney, according to the poll. Fifty percent of Republicans who already voted said they cast ballots for Romney, compared to 29% who went for Santorum. But Santorum led Romney among voters who are waiting until primary day, 41% to 29%.

On Tuesday, officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, said 167,838 Republican ballots had been returned, out of over 388,000 early ballots that were requested. In neighboring Pima County, officials said 40,688 ballots have been returned, out of 85,041 that were mailed out. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, and Pima County, which includes Tucson, account for about three-quarters of Arizona's population.

The ARG poll was taken by telephone February 23-24 of 600 likely Republican primary voters. The sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

CNN's Marlena Baldacci contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 • Arizona
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Tony

    Democrats should not worry that their support of Santorum in open primaries will cause Republicans to move back to Romney. Most Republicans have made up their mind about Romney and have voted for one anti-Romney after another. If Romney has the best chance of beating Obama, he has no business losing to people who have no chance.

    February 25, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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