Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsMitt Romney

Poll: Santorum catches Romney; both Republicans trail Obama

February 13, 2012|By David Lauter
  • Volunteers supporting Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney vie for attention Saturday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.
Volunteers supporting Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)

Reporting from Washington — President Obama for the first time has opened a sizable lead over his most likely Republican opponents, thanks to growing support among independent voters, according to a new Pew Research Center poll.

The poll, released Monday, showed Rick Santorum in a virtual tie with Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential race. Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, has moved up as a result of his backing from tea party Republicans and white evangelicals. He led Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, 30% to 28% among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters in the survey, which was conducted Feb. 8-12 and had a margin of error of 5 percentage points. In a Pew survey only a month ago, Romney led Santorum, 31% to 14%.

But both Republicans trailed Obama by sizable margins. Obama led Santorum by 10 points among registered voters nationwide (53%-43%) and led Romney by eight points (52%-44%). Obama’s lead over Newt Gingrich, who has faded in the GOP race, was 18 points (57%-39%). In previous polls in November and January, Romney and Obama were roughly tied. Obama has moved up because of support from independent voters, 51% of whom now back him against Romney, a gain of 11 points since last month.

The latest poll by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press was conducted among 1,172 registered voters nationwide. It found that Santorum has become the clear favorite of tea party supporters and white evangelical Republicans. He wins support from 42% of tea party Republican voters compared with just 23% who back Romney. Santorum’s margin among white evangelical Republican voters was almost the same, 41% to 23%.

A major factor driving the Santorum surge is that an increasing number of tea party Republicans do not believe Romney is a strong conservative, the poll showed. Only 29% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters who agree with the tea party say Romney is a strong conservative, a steep drop from 51% three months ago. More than two-thirds of tea party Republicans (68%) now say Romney is not a strong conservative.

david.lauter@latimes.com


Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|