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PPP: Santorum Leads Romney by 15 Points

10:46 AM, Feb 13, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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The latest Public Policy Polling survey shows Rick Santorum leading Mitt Romney by 15 percentage points in the Republican presidential race. In the wake of his upset victory in Colorado and his lopsided wins in Missouri and Minnesota, Santorum now has 38 percent support nationally among usual Republican primary voters, compared to 23 percent for Romney. Newt Gingrich has 17 percent support, and Ron Paul has 13 percent, which puts Paul closer to Romney than Romney is to Santorum.  

Rick Santorum

Rick Santorum

Santorum is dominating among Tea Party voters. He has 51 percent support among the Tea Party, compared to 12 percent for Romney. (Gingrich is in between, with 24 percent support, while Paul has 8 percent support.)

Santorum also leads among non-Tea Party voters.  He has 34 percent support among non-Tea Party voters, compared to 28 percent for Romney, 16 percent for Paul, and 14 percent for Gingrich.

Perhaps most striking is Santorum’s lead in how favorably Republicans view the respective candidates. Here are the net favorability ratings for all four GOP contenders:

Santorum, +42 percent (64 percent favorable, 22 percent unfavorable)
Romney, +1 percent (44 percent favorable, 43 percent unfavorable)
Gingrich, -2 percent (42 percent favorable, 44 percent unfavorable)
Paul, -16 percent (35 percent favorable, 51 percent unfavorable) 

Moreover, Santorum is by far the preferred 2nd-choice candidate among Gingrich supporters — 44 percent of whom list Santorum as their second choice, compared to 17 percent for Romney, and 16 percent for Paul. He is also by far the preferred 2nd-choice candidate among Romney supporters, 38 percent of whom list the former Pennsylvania senator, compared to 17 percent for Gingrich and 11 percent for Paul.  Meanwhile, Gingrich is the preferred 2nd-choice candidate among Santorum supporters — 39 percent of whom list the former House speaker, compared to 29 percent for Romney and 9 percent for Paul.

Half (50 percent) of all respondents said that if the race were to come down to Santorum, Romney, and Paul, they would support Santorum, compared to 28 percent who would support Romney and 15 percent who would support Paul.

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