Romney, Santorum: It's a Tie
Two candidates are basically sharing first place at this point
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 14, 2012 7:19 AM CST
Updated Feb 14, 2012 7:50 AM CST
Volunteers supporting Republican presidential hopefuls Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney vie for attention as America's political right gathers for the Conservative Political Action Conference.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

(Newser) – Three polls, three declarations about Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum: virtual tie, statistical tie, and essential tie. According to Pew, Gallup, and the New York Times/CBS News, Romney officially has some company at the top following Santorum's wins in Colorado, Minnesota, and Missouri:

  • Pew's poll, released yesterday, puts Santorum at 30% to Romney's 28% among Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters. Santorum easily captures the top spot among Tea Party Republican voters (42% to 23%) and evangelical Republican voters (41% to 23%). One bright spot for Romney: 70% of his supporters believe the GOP would back him if he becomes the nominee; only 54% of Santorum's supporters feel the same.

  • Gallup's poll, also released yesterday, found that 32% of Republican registered voters preferred Romney, and 30% favor Santorum. That's a 14-point jump for Santorum in recent days, and Gallup notes that his rise came at the expense of every candidate: He grabbed five points from Romney, six from Newt Gingrich, and three from Ron Paul. Side note: Paul's support hit a 2012 low: 8%.
  • The New York Times/CBS poll out today shows that 30% of GOP primary voters support Santorum, to Romney's 27%. But it's still anyone's game: Last month, 74% of voters who backed a candidate said they might still change their pick; that has dropped, but only to 60%.