Poll: Santorum Ahead by 7 in Ohio, Favored by Conservatives, Men, Evangelicals, Tea Party

February 27, 2012 - 1:06 PM

Santorum 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a campaign rally, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, in Traverse City, Mich. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

(CNSNews.com) – Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) by seven points in Ohio in the race for the GOP presidential nominaiton, a new poll from Quinnipiac University finds. Ohio, whose primary is on Mar. 6 Super Tuesday, could help Santorum pick up the delegates he will need to win the GOP nomination.

According to the poll, Santorum leads Romney 36-to-29 percent, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) in third with 17 percent and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas with 11 percent support.

There are 66 delegates at stake in the Ohio primary. If Santorum can hold on to his current lead there, winning a substantial amount of those delegates will aid him greatly in his quest for the Republican nomination.

Currently, Santorum has only 3 delegates – compared to Romney’s 73 and Gingrich’s 29 – despite having won contests in Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota. However, because none of those contests awarded delegates, Santorum’s victories there have not helped push him out of last place in the race for delegates.

Romney 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Flint, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

If he is to win the GOP nomination, Santorum will need to win 1,144 delegates.

While Santorum leads by in Ohio by seven points, that lead is by no means safe, as Quinnipiac also found that 45 percent of voters said they could still change their minds between now and the election next Tuesday.

Santorum leads Romney among men 38-to-25 percent, is tied among women 34-to-33 percent, and leads among self-identified conservatives 40-to-25 percent. Romney leads among self-described moderates 39-27.

Santorum also leads among Tea Party voters 49 percent to Romney’s 19 percent and among evangelicals 44-29 percent.