Poll: All tied up in Tennessee
Rick Santorum address tea party supporters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on February 25.
March 4th, 2012
03:28 PM ET
11 years ago

Poll: All tied up in Tennessee

(CNN) - With two days to go until Super Tuesday, it's all knotted up in Tennessee's Republican presidential primary, according to a new poll.

An American Research Group survey released Sunday indicates that 35% of likely GOP primary voters in the state are backing former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, with 31% supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 20% backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 9% supporting Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Santorum's four point advantage is within the poll's sampling error, which means it's basically all tied up.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

Two polls conducted in the state late last month, from Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University, both indicated Santorum with a double digit lead over his rivals for the GOP nomination.

Fifty-five delegates are up for grabs Tuesday in Tennessee, one of 10 states to hold contests on Super Tuesday.

Tennessee allows early voting, and the ARG survey indicates that Santorum has a 47%-35% lead over Romney among those who've said they've already cast a ballot in Tuesday's contest, with Gingrich at 11% and Paul at 7%.

Among those yet to vote, Santorum has a 32%-30% margin over Romney, with Gingrich at 23% and Paul at 9%.

"Although the 12 percentage-point early-vote lead for Santorum gives him a cushion, Romney is gaining among voters saying they will vote on Tuesday and Santorum's early vote may not be enough to hold off Romney because Gingrich has gained strength at Santorum's expense," says a press release by ARG.

Tennessee holds an open primary, which means Republicans, Independents and even Democrats can vote in the GOP presidential contest. According to the poll, Santorum has a seven-point margin over Romney among self-identified Republicans, with Romney holding a six-point margin over Santorum among self-identified independents and Democrats.

The survey indicates that Santorum has a 43%-30% lead over Gingrich among people who say they are supporters of the tea party movement, with Romney at 17% and Paul at 5%. Among non-tea party supporters, Romney leads with 49%, followed by Santorum at 24%, Paul at 14% and Gingrich at 8%.

Santorum has a nine point advantage over Romney among men, with Romney holding a two point margin over Santorum among women.

The ARG poll was conducted March 1-3, with 600 likely GOP primary voters in Tennessee questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2012 • Polls • Tennessee
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Larry L

    Santorum will win Tennessee. Nobody is crazier than Tennessee and he tends to win the crazy vote.

    March 4, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. ourjungle

    Three of the GOP candidates have spent the majority of their lives, living off the tax payers burdended backs....and now they are promising to fix our broken Economy....when they have been part of the problem all along.

    March 4, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. vic , nashville ,tn

    Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich appealing to the voters straight other hand Money and High profile Republicans (example Gov Bill Haslam) speak on behalf of Mitt Romney

    Newt 20% and Santorum 35% 55% conservatives don’t like Romney Conservative base not happy with Romney

    March 4, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Charlie from the North

    There are two groups of people that I really hope are paying attention to the GOP primaries: 1. I hope the independent voters are watching closely as these goons try to out- stupid each other so that come election time they will realize that the only adult candidate in the race is President Obama, and that he needs their vote to avoid an even worse mess, and 2. I pray that the Democrats out there who "stayed home" in 2010 see where the Tea Party wants to take us and will act to stop them.

    Hey you "couch potato' Democrats out there, you know who you are, want to see what a low voter turn-out will get ya? Google Maine Governor's election 2010 check the results and see what Governor Paul LePage has done to our state, and then see if you feel like "it doesn't make a difference. Get out and vote.(while you still can)

    March 4, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  5. cali girl

    Don't count your chickens there santo, remember michigan?

    March 4, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. anonymous

    How can you say its tied when Santorum leads by 4? By the logic used in the article, I could say "Poll: Santorum Leads by 8 in Tennessee."

    March 4, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Rob

    I am appalled and totally EMBARRASSED AND ASHAMED to be from TENNESSEE RIGHT NOW.
    I'm glad I'm moving out west.
    Ron Paul 2012 or Tyranny you people need to wake up or you will get what's coming to you.

    March 4, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If Mittens loses Tennessee, he will get the party bosses to lose votes, miscount, and declare the money launderer, flipper, the winner, because the Kochs and Rove said so.

    March 4, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  9. Namejkane fl live from teapublican moon base no taxes, no regulation no health care, free gas.

    Dem landslide coming in Nov , not soon enough. Time to get rid of republican bafoons.

    March 4, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. once upon a horse

    it appears some of the areas where Santorum had a lead are starting to vanish. This might be why he is trying to backpeddle on some of the dumb things he said like the Obama snob comment and the JFK barf comment. Republican voters may not be crazy about their current choices but it seems that they are thinking to go with LESS crazy.

    March 4, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Hemuda

    I don't how anyone in right mind can support a hateful person like Santorum. Recently he has mad statements that show how much hatred he has for people who disagree with him, for people who are non-christian, and for people who want to make rational decisions based on human values rather than some strict religious dictate. He is sounding more like Hitler who he pretend to hate with hatred and utter disrespect for non-conservatives.

    March 4, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. AgrippaMT

    Were they all out there polling while the tornadoes were on the ground? I think Santorum just lost a lot of support down there. All those trailers blown away.

    March 4, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  13. grahame rhodes

    I just love Rick Santorum I watched him on CNN this evening. Every time he opens his mouth he digs himself even deeper in the contraception debate. He maintains that his interpretation of his personal beliefs will not interfere with anybody else in the USA when on the other hand he has said he will outlaw sex outside of marriage. HA! Big Joke! Been to Vegas lately Rick? The other thing was his makeup. what's he trying to do? make himself look like Barack O Bama? If that's true then Mit Romney will soon be doing a Micheal Jackson with the white makeup in order to grab the Southern States vote. Just Wonderful!!! Saturday night live couldn't come up with a better script for these clowns.
    Thank you Rush Limburger!

    March 4, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  14. Bryan

    Rick Santorum has proven his "I will say and do what ever it takes to win" ways. I do not like what he has been up to, talking conservative with a liberal voting record, and then to top it all off he asks the Democrats to vote in the republican primary in order to try and win. That is dirt and smacks of a lack of moralty and integrity. Seem that he would do anything to winn even compromise his ipntegrity. I was for Rick until I saw the record and hpis lack of ethics.

    March 4, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Tom

    "Santorum's four point advantage is within the poll's sampling error, which means it's basically all tied up."
    This is at least the second time that I have seen this type of statement on CNN. Because a candidate is within the margin of error does not mean that he is tied with another. It means that it is possible that they are tied. It would have been equally valid for Paul Steinhauser to have said this: "Santorum's four point advantage is within the poll's sampling error, which means he is ahead by eight points."
    Believe me, I am not a Santorum supporter. I just think that the facts should not be twisted in order to get a good headline.

    March 4, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. Chipster

    It's astonishing to think of all the problems that religious zealots have created in the Middle East and here we are: looking at a religious nutcase like Santorum as a possible candidate for our highest office! Santorum doesn't believe women need higher education and contraception should be banned! Santorum thinks his religion should be imposed on everyone. Virginia's legislature is passing laws that would force a woman who is pregnant by a rapist to be forcibly raped again by a doctor with a vaginal scope if she decides to terminate the pregnancy resulting from her rape! This is the United States in 2012??? The American Taliban has a strangle-hold on the GOP. Moderates need not apply and I fear for our nation's future.

    March 4, 2012 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  17. DENNA

    @Charlie from the North – You are absolutely correct. If we want to keep this country on the right path, we need to get rid of the Tea Party supported candidates. Even if you still want to vote GOP (why I don't know), at least vote for GOP candidates who have the ENTIRE country's best interest at heart. Santorum scares me a lot more than Romney, because if he wins the nomination, he won't move to the middle. He doesn't even know where that is.

    March 4, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. trex

    ..........Up here in PA, when we get a Santorum Surge,....................we flush it immediately..................

    March 4, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Sauce for the Goose

    Charlie from the North. You are exactly right, but 2010 was an off-year election. Democrats have historically stayed away from the voting booths on off-year elections. After seeing what that apathy has wrought, I'm pretty sure the Dems will get of ther collective duffs this year. There's too much at stake not to.

    March 4, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. Shelby

    Santorum will continue his downward slide and Romney will do well in Tennessee on Tuesday. Go Mitt!

    March 5, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |

    Who cares? Obama/Biden 2012!

    March 5, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  22. Marie MD

    Are they tying the remaining four clowns in the tiny little car so that they don't open mouth and put foot in it.
    With their beliefs about contraception (unlike the little blue pill) and that if the President is reelected Iran will have nuclear weapons and all that silliness I would keep them tied up right up to November.

    March 5, 2012 06:14 am at 6:14 am |
  23. Don

    Sounds like NONE OF THE ABOVE to me.

    March 5, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  24. Boink

    I love polls.

    Mitt Romney is doing well with people who like him,
    and not so well with people who dont.

    Rick Santorum is doing well with people who will vote for him,
    and not so well with people who wont.

    March 5, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  25. Fred Zeppelin

    I polled my cat and my dog.
    My cat doesnt care, and my dog barked a lot.

    March 5, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
1 2