Gallup: Santorum Surges Into National Lead Over Romney, 35 Percent to 29 Percent

February 18, 2012 - 5:09 PM
Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) - Over the past five days, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has surged into a 35 percent to 29 percent lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Gallup's nationwide tracking poll of registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

Each day, Gallup publishes the average results from its past five days of polling in the Republican presidential primary race. In the five days that ended on Monday, Feb. 13, according to Gallup, Romney led Santorum, 32 percent to 30 percent, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in third place at 16 percent and Rep. Ron Paul in fourth place at 8 percent.

Between Monday and Friday this week, Santorum gained support each day. In Gallup's five-day tracking poll that ended on Tuesday, Santorum had 31 percent; on Wednesday, he had 32 percent; on Thursday, he had 34 percent; and on Friday, he had 35 percent.

Meanwhile, Romney peaked at 33 percent on Tuesday and dropped to 29 percent by Friday.

Just 11 days earlier in Gallup's tracking--on Feb. 6--Romney had double-digit leads on all the other contestants in the Republican field. Gallup's five-day tracking poll ending on that day showed Romney at 37 percent, Gingrich at 22 percent, Santorum at 16 percent and Paul at 11 percent.

On Feb. 7, Santorum swept the Republican contests in Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri. Since then, Santorum's support has grown by 19 points in the Gallup tracking poll, while Gingrich's has declined 9, Romney's has declined 8, and the percentages saying they supported no candidate or some candidate other than Santorum, Romney, Gingrich or Paul each declined by one point.

Ron Paul's support was 11 percent on Feb. 6 and--while tracking as low as 8 percent for a stretch of five days in the interim--was back at 11 percent again on Feb. 17.

The Gallup five-day tracking poll that ended on Friday, Feb. 17, interviewed 1,156 registered Republicans and Republican-leaning independents and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.