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article imageFormer Senator Rick Santorum surges in weekend Republican polls

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By Andrew Moran     Feb 13, 2012 in Politics
Phoenix - New polling numbers suggest that former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum has surged since his three-state win last week. Meanwhile, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's polling figures have been staggering.
Last week, former Senator Rick Santorum was able to come out the victor in the states of Minnesota, Missouri and Colorado; although all the Republican contests were non-binding (Missouri will hold a caucus on Mar. 17 to allocate the delegates).
Despite the alleged “insignificance” of the state(s), Santorum’s momentum has dramatically improved in the course of a few days. A series of new polls show that Santorum has been gaining on former Governor Mitt Romney and in some cases actually leading the GOP field.
A few days prior to the Iowa caucuses, Santorum most often polled near last in the single digits. Since then, however, Santorum has been able to maintain a strong campaign with limited resources. With strong debate performances and few states under his belt, could Santorum upset the supposed frontrunner in Romney?
Republican Mitt Romney
Republican Mitt Romney
Gage Skidmore
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Fox News Poll
Fox News released its own poll on Friday, which showed the former senator gaining in second place. According to the telephone survey, Romney is in first place with 33 percent, while Santorum is in a distant second with 23 percent.
Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is in a close third spot with 22 percent. Meanwhile, Texas Congressman Ron Paul is still trailing the field with 15 percent.
The poll was conducted with 1,110 randomly selected registered voters between Feb. 6 and Feb. 9. The telephone poll contains a margin of error of +/- three percentage points.
Gallup Tracking
Newt Gingrich speaking to supporters at a townhall in Derry  New Hampshire  along with his wife  Cal...
Newt Gingrich speaking to supporters at a townhall in Derry, New Hampshire, along with his wife, Callista.
Gage Skidmore
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According to numbers from Gallup Tracking, Romney still holds a reasonable lead, but Santorum was not far behind. The two-time presidential candidate maintains 34 percent support, while Santorum is in second with 27 percent.
The former House Speaker is in a distant third place with 16 percent and Paul trails with only eight percent.
The same Gallup poll also showed a tie in a hypothetical matchup between President Barack Obama and Romney. Each presidential candidate garnered 48 percent support. Also, in a potential Gingrich vs. Obama matchup, the former Georgia congressman would lose by a considerable 12-point margin.
Although the two candidates were not mentioned in the media release, other polls have showed Paul being in a too close to call race with the incumbent president. Also, Santorum does not poll well in a general election against President Obama.
Gallup interviewed 1,200 registered voters between Feb. 7 and Feb. 11. It is unknown the margin of error in this poll.
PPP Poll
Ron Paul speaking to supporters at a townhall at the University of New Hampshire in Durham  New Hamp...
Ron Paul speaking to supporters at a townhall at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire.
Gage Skidmore
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The Public Policy Institute (PPP) published its latest statistics Sunday, which showed Santorum actually in first place with a considerable lead. The polling numbers had Santorum in first place with 38 percent and Romney with 23 percent support. Gingrich sits in a distant third place with 17 percent, while Paul was polled in last place with 13 percent.
“It’s been an amazingly fast ascent to first place for Rick Santorum,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP, in a media release. “It’s important to keep in mind though that fewer than half of his voters are firmly committed to him. When he comes under attack in the coming days his lead could evaporate just as quickly as it was created.”
The automated telephone poll was conducted on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 with 656 nationwide Republican voters. It contains a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points.
According to averages from Real Clear Politics, Romney is still ahead of the pack, but his lead has dwindled. The averages suggest that Romney maintains a 5.8 percent lead over the soaring candidate, Rick Santorum.
A few questions to ask from these polls: should Gingrich drop out of the race? Will Santorum have a possible upset over Romney? Is this election cycle Romney’s to lose? Will Dr. Paul’s strategy of accumulating delegates be effective come August?
The next scheduled GOP contest will take place on Feb. 28 where the states of Arizona and Michigan hold primaries. Prior to that, CNN will host a presidential debate on Feb. 22 at 8 p.m. EST at the Mesa Arts Center in Arizona.
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More about Rick Santorum, Poll, 2012 republican primaries, 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney
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