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Michigan Poll: Santorum 37, Romney 34, Paul 10, Gingrich 7

8:07 AM, Feb 23, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The latest Michigan Republican primary poll from the Detroit Free Press, which doesn't factor in last night's debate:

A week of personal appearances, newspaper op-eds, robocalls and television ads has brought Mitt Romney back within striking distance of national frontrunner Rick Santorum in Michigan’s Republican presidential primary, but with six days to go Santorum’s upstart campaign remains on the verge of what could be a defining victory in Romney’s birth state, a Detroit Free Press-WXYZ-TV poll shows.

After jumping out to an improbable lead in Michigan a week ago following a sweep in three western states, Santorum still holds a 37% to 34% lead over Romney, who until recently had been considered all but certain to win a state where he was born and grew up. It's also a state where his father, George Romney, was a nationally known auto executive and a popular three-term Republican governor. . .

The race remains a volatile one, perhaps right up to the end. Nearly half of the poll’s respondents – 45% — said they would consider changing their minds about who to vote for before Tuesday, and 12% of respondents said they were still undecided who to vote for on Tuesday.

But Santorum continues to show strength, as the conservative base rallies around him: Among self-described conservatives, he leads Romney 46% to 27% (Romney leads among the much-smaller bloc of moderate voters 51% to 17%.) Men favor Santorum 41% to 29% for Romney, and Santorum has built up double-digit leads over Romney in the western and central parts of the state.

This poll's results are similar to PPP's Michigan poll released earlier this week that found Santorum 37, Romney 33, Paul 15, Gingrich 10.

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