Reporting from Washington — It's been a lengthy presidential primary for the GOP, with a wide field of candidates slowly narrowing down to the four current hopefuls. And if a new CNN/ORC poll is any indication, two more candidates, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, should drop out of the race.
For Gingrich and Paul, the numbers look grim. With 60% of those polled wanting Gingrich out, and 61% in favor of Paul departing, it seems like only a matter of time before Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney are the only two contenders in the ring.
The polling also shows a general shift in support away from Santorum, who led Romney in support 34% to 32% in February. Romney now tops the former Pennsylvania senator 36% to 26%. Santorum's supporters, though fewer in number, do have a greater loyalty to their candidate. Of their respective bases, 53% of Santorum's supporters strongly back him, while 41% of Romney supporters feel the same.
Also interesting to note is the number of those polled who see Romney's presidential candidacy as a near-certainty. While neither Gingrich, Santorum nor Paul are seen as almost certain to win the party's nomination by more than 3%, 26% think Romney all but has the nomination in the bag. An additional 45% see his nomination as very likely, with only Santorum breaking into double digits at 13%.