(CNN) - Strong support by Catholic voters in Ohio appears to be one reason why Mitt Romney is now deadlocked with Rick Santorum, according to a new survey released one day before the state holds its Super Tuesday Republican presidential primary.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday indicates that it's a dead heat between Romney and Santorum, with both the former Massachusetts governor and the former senator from Pennsylvania each grabbing 32% of likely GOP primary voters in Ohio. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is at 14%, with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at 11%.
CNN LIVE:Go to CNN.com, and CNN Mobile for the CNN Election Roundtable, a live video chat hosted by Wolf Blitzer and the CNN political team, on Tuesday at 12 p.m. ET. Tune in this week for live coverage of the primaries on Super Tuesday on CNNPolitics.com, on the CNN apps and on the CNN mobile web site. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #cnnelections.
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
"The surprise is that the Catholic candidate, Santorum, is losing the Catholic vote," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among Ohio Catholics who are likely to vote on Super Tuesday, 39% back Romney compared to 33% who support Santorum. Santorum has an advantage among Protestants by a 35%-to-29% margin."
Romney's advantage among Catholics is within the sampling error. Last week exit polls in neighboring Michigan indicated Romney had an advantage with Catholic voters in that state as well. Both Michigan and Ohio have sizeable Catholic populations.
The CNN/ORC survey is the fifth released over the past day and a half to indicate that it's all tied up in Ohio. Surveys released a week ago suggested that Santorum led Romney, but they were conducted before Romney's large victory last Tuesday in Arizona and his edging out of Santorum to win his native Michigan.
"Ohio is yet another state in which Republican primary voters are split ideologically," says Holland. Romney has an 18-point advantage among moderates, while Santorum is up by eight among conservatives."
Sixty-three delegates are up for grabs Tuesday in Ohio, one of 10 states to hold contests on Super Tuesday. Although more delegates are at stake in Georgia, Ohio is arguably the most crucial of the states holding a Super Tuesday contest because of its status as a major general election battleground, and both Romney and Santorum have campaigned hard to take the state.
But Georgia is crucial for Gingrich, who's said repeatedly over the past week that he needs to win the state. Gingrich represented Georgia's sixth congressional district for two decades.
The poll indicates Gingrich is enjoying home field advantage, with a 23 point lead over Romney in the state. Gingrich is at 47% among likely GOP primary voters, with Romney at 24%, Santorum at 15% and Paul at 9%. Other recent surveys in Georgia also indicated Gingrich with a double digit lead.
Two-thirds of people questioned in Georgia said they were definitely backing the candidate they are currently supporting, with three in ten saying they may change their minds, and 5% unsure or not supporting a candidate.
In Ohio, 53% said they were committed to the candidate they are currently backing, with 37% saying they could change their minds, with one in ten either unsure or not backing a candidate.
Besides being a crucial primary state, Ohio is also an extremely important battleground state in the general election. According to the poll, 49% of Ohio registered voters would back President Barack Obama in November, with 45% supporting an unnamed Republican nominee.
In Georgia, which has been a reliable Republican state in presidential contests, the poll indicates Obama deadlocked at 48% against the eventual GOP nominee.
The CNN poll in Ohio was conducted by ORC International, with 1,825 registered voters, including 546 registered voters likely to cast ballots in the Ohio GOP primary, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for registered voters is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points for questions only of likely Republican primary voters.
The CNN poll in Georgia was conducted by ORC International, with 1,775 registered voters, including 527 registered voters likely to cast ballots in the Georgia GOP primary, questioned by telephone.
The survey's sampling error for registered voters is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, with a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points for questions only of likely Republican primary voters.
Poll: All tied up in Tennessee
Romney gets backing from key Republicans
Barbara Bush robo calls for Romney
@ Dominican mama NOT4 Obama Anymore
What happened to make you turn against Obama? I'm just curious.
Catholics voting for a Mormon cult guy. What else is new with Republicans and their flock. Why not write in Charles Manson, he's a cult guy too. Phonies.
Republicans say we should give bigger tax breaks to the top 1% bcoz we should not envy sucessful people. Okay then why are Newt & Santorum complaining about Mitt outspending them 20 to 1. Mitt is sucessfull and has more resources they (Santorum & Newt & majority of GOP) should lead by example by not complaining bcoz it is class warfare. Do the conservtards realise the edge that money/wealth gives u? GOP supporters are arguing against what they themselves are supporting. Truth is money gives a very big advantage & top 1% have framed the rules to their advantage by bribing the lobbyists and Super PACs and thats why rich need to pay a fair share of the taxes(30% like the middle class starting with Mittens).
Ha ... even Catholics abandon the Santorum-Catholic boat. Maybe they aren't Catholic enough? Or maybe Santorum isn't? Your call.
Ohio Democrat, Roman Catholic voting for Obama in 2012.
Isn't there supposed to be a seperation between religion and state? It seems that the republican candicates have hi-jacked religion and have become religeous terrorists. Spewing hatred, bigiotry, lies, etc. in the name of a God they have created in their minds, who unfortuately looks nothing like the being we have come to accept from the Good Book.
The american people will decide and I hope they get what they really deserve.
I think Romney would make the best plutocrat, and Sanitarium would make the best theocrat. But I'm sticking with Obama for President as long as we still have a democratic republic.
Perhaps Catholics should pull their heads out of their butts and vote on reasonable reasons, not guessing "who's faith is closer to mine". How about doing the work and finding out you support? You know, how about becoming an informed voter?
Too much work. I know.
Hrm, perhaps people should vote on the issues. Crazy I know.
Catholic support for Romney!?!? Now there's an oxymoron. The same catholics who "live the Bible" every day will vote for a Mormon? Really. "Can't do it. Wouldn't be prudent." LOL
I am a 55 year old Catholic with a news update: When the priest on Sunday talks about birth control, people ignore the priest just like 40 years ago when they told us we could not eat meat on Friday. There is no Catholic vote. I find it interesting that we are in a Protestant country that is all of a suddne interested in Catholic. Why? Do you want our vote for president?
Anyone who is educated in Catholic teaching, would KNOW that Santorum is closer to Catholic issues than Romney. That is a huge shame if there are Catholics voting for Romney. Santorum represents pro-life issues, the family and getting jobs back into America (trying to decrease outsourcing).
Santorum is the kind of catholic that most catholics abhor
Oh I get it. As the Republicans yell "class warefare" at the Democrats, the Republicans conduct their own religious warfare. I think religious warfare is even worse than any class warfare.
Typical Republican hypocrites.
Hahaha being from Cleveland I can tell you right now that this article is completely false on the numbers. I haven't met ONE person who is backing Romney or Santorum in Ohio. We're just not that kind of state. This state is completely full of Ron Paul supporters so that 11% up there in the article is definitely not correct. Sorry folks, but I'm pretty sure we're about to see another Maine here!
He is a Mormon, so of course he will win- if he was Catholic- he would suffer the same fate as the Kennedy's. The powers that be will never allow a catholic president to survive 4 years in office.
First, Presidents don't run anything, they take orders from International bankers. Two, we have no candidates, just puppets for one special interest group or another.
The SuperPac is behind Romney. The Tea Party has endorsed him. What else is left? Sure he might say a lot of new things that people want hear. At this point there are no new ideas on the table. I don't understand how 35% of those polled said they still might change their mind before tomorrow. Really? In other words no one is excited about any of the GOP candidates. Let's see a last minute Trump/Palin ticket or Limbaugh/Coulter. If you are going to be crazy might as well go all in.
the GOP would just use his corporation gutting skills to gut everything we built in this country. he has a history of working with ratheon the war profiteers and world bank types that want to control all of the water on the planet. no thanks.
It is a shame that so many people think that Romney is going to be a change from Obama! Romney would rationalize accepting anything if it would win him the election! That includes changing his position on many issues that he is "leaning to the right on now". Romney is the ultimate sailor folks! He always heads downwind! Remember folks, "Only dead fish go with the flow" (Sarah Palin) Ron Paul 2012!!!!!!!!!!
Ron Paul is the only true fiscal conservative. Everyone else will add hundreds of billions to the national deficit, while Ron Paul would cut 2.2 trillion from the national deficit through his plans. (Source: Independent tax agency)
Ron Paul 2012
Santorum's poll numbers are quite high with Catholic bishops; Catholic population sees it the other way.
Catholics want Romney so he can rid America od Obama.
the richer person will win the campaing so i think they are stupid :<
"He sticks to what the country needs right now, and that is exactly what his past history has shown him to be proficient in...business recovery."
LOL! What history has shown is that Rmoney is a psychopathic vampire capitalist. Those skills are really inappropriate for a president.