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N.C. Poll: Santorum 31, Romney 25, Gingrich 23, Paul 8

2:04 PM, Mar 2, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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PPP reports on its latest North Carolina Republican presidential primary poll: 

Rick Santorum's taken the lead in the Republican Presidential race in North Carolina with 31% to 25% for Mitt Romney and 23% for Newt Gingrich. A month ago Gingrich and Romney were tied for the lead with Santorum running 10 points behind.

Romney's staying competitive in North Carolina despite the fact that GOP voters there are pretty tepid toward him. Only 43% have a favorable opinion and an equal 43% see him negatively. That makes him less popular than both Gingrich (45/41) and Santorum (58/29).

Romney's really benefiting from Gingrich continuing to be strong enough in the South that he splits the conservative vote with Santorum, unlike in other parts of the country where conservatives are increasingly unifying around Santorum as the alternative to Romney. Among voters identifying as 'very conservative' Santorum leads Gingrich 35-32 with Romney at 19%.

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