Pollster: Romney Surges Despite More GOP Ohioans Agreeing With Santorum

Mitt Romney greets supporters in Youngstown, Ohio, Monday, March 5, 2012. i i

hide captionMitt Romney greets supporters in Youngstown, Ohio, Monday, March 5, 2012.

Gerald Herbert/AP
Mitt Romney greets supporters in Youngstown, Ohio, Monday, March 5, 2012.

Mitt Romney greets supporters in Youngstown, Ohio, Monday, March 5, 2012.

Gerald Herbert/AP

Suffolk University has a new poll out of Ohio that reminds us that in politics as in life, timing is everything; Rick Santorum would have been much better off if Super Tuesday had been two weeks ago.

The poll which was in the field through Sunday shows Santorum with a four percentage lead over Mitt Romney, 37 percent to 33 percent. That result is in the +/- 4.4 percent margin of error which means the race is a statistical tie which is the same result other polls of Ohio voters have gotten.

Here's an indication from the pollsters of how much the tables have completely turned on Santorum in just a few weeks:

"Santorum led 44 percent to Romney's 27 percent among those who already have cast ballots, but among those who have yet to vote, Santorum's margin was only 3 points, 36 percent to 33 percent."

So Santorum went from a commanding lead to a tie all in a few weeks with likely GOP voters in Ohio.

But here's the thing. He still holds a commanding lead in terms of being ideological connectedness with the state's Republican voters the poll indicates. Another excerpt from the pollsters' news release:

"Thirty-three percent of likely voters said that Santorum hews closer to their political beliefs than the other three GOP candidates. Gingrich was seen as having similar beliefs to their own by 22 percent; Romney by 19 percent; and Ron Paul by 10 percent."

So significantly more Ohio Republicans believe Santorum shares their views than Romney does and yet the race is a tie? What's going on? It appears it's all about electability. Romney crushes Santorum on that dimension.

"... Romney was seen as the candidate who has the best chance of defeating President Barack Obama by 44 percent of respondents, while 18 percent chose Santorum; 15 percent, Gingrich; and 2 percent, Ron Paul."

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