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Rasmussen: Romney 40, Santorum 24

11:31 AM, Mar 1, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The most recent national Republican primary poll from Rasmussen Reports shows Mitt Romney leading with 40 percent, 16 points ahead of his closest rival Rick Santorum, who is at 24 percent. According to the poll, taken after Romney's victories in the Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday, Newt Gingrich has 16 percent and Ron Paul has 12 percent. Romney's lead, his largest in the Rasmussen poll so far, is also the largest for any Republican presidential candidate in this cycle.

Romney's new lead is a big swing from a national Rasmussen poll taken two weeks ago, which showed Santorum leading with 39 percent to Romney's 27 percent. Here's more from Rasmussen:

In a one-on-one matchup, Romney now beats Santorum 50% to 38%. In the previous survey, Santorum was ahead of Romney 55% to 34%, the only time any challenger has led Romney nationally in a head-to-head match-up.

Romney is trailing in Rasmussen Reports surveys among likely GOP voters in Georgia and Oklahoma, two of the Super Tuesday primary states that will vote next week, but those surveys were taken prior to the Arizona and Michigan outcomes.

According to RealClearPolitics, Romney leads by over 5 percentage points in the national polling average.

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