Romney Closing Gap in Michigan

Rick Santorum's 15-point lead shrinks to 4

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 20, 2012 7:19 AM CST

(Newser) – Last week, Rick Santorum led Mitt Romney in the Michigan race by 15 points; now, that lead is down to just four points, Public Policy Polling finds. Some 37% of voters say they support Santorum, compared to 33% for Romney; Ron Paul follows with 15%, while Newt Gingrich stands at 10%. It's not that Santorum's performance has declined, pollsters note: It's Romney who has successfully buoyed his campaign, and he's done so by bolstering his image rather than tearing down that of his opponents. His support has grown from 24% last week.

And where Santorum's favorability/unfavorability rating has remained at 67/23, Romney has expanded his spread from +10 to +20 points, at 55/35. The former governor also has Newt Gingrich to thank for some of his success: Some 45% of Newt backers would back Santorum if Gingrich dropped out, whereas just 29% would support Romney. That would put Santorum's lead at 42% to 33%. Santorum holds double-digit leads among Protestants, union members, evangelicals, and Tea Partiers; Romney is ahead among women, seniors, moderates, and Catholics.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks in Salt Lake City, Utah, Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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