Southern stumbles aside, Mitt Romney bests Santorum in new national poll
A Pew Research poll released Wednesday has some good news and some bad news for Mitt Romney, the day after his third-place finishes in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries.
A national poll of voters released Wednesday offers mixed news for Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney after his third-place finish Tuesday in Southern primaries in Alabama and Mississippi.
â€śThe headline is that Romney regained his lead over [GOP challenger Rick] Santorum 33 to 24 percentâ€ť among Republican and Republican-leaning voters, says Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center. Last month, the two GOP candidates were split fairly evenly in the GOP presidential race, Mr. Kohut said, at â€ś28 percent Romney, 30 percent Santorum.â€ťÂ
While Mr. Romney, a former governor of Massachusetts, is â€śback on top in this particular national poll,â€ť he â€śnow trails [President] Obama by an ever larger marginâ€ť in a theoretical matchup, Kohut said at a Monitor-hosted breakfast for reporters.Â
In a head-to-head matchup, Mr. Obama topped Romney by 54 to 42 percent, the Pew survey showed. The president has an even bigger lead over Mr. Santorum, a former US senator from Pennsylvania, outpacing him 57 to 39 percent.
The nonpartisan research organization found what Kohut called â€śa cavernous gender gap in the horse-race pollâ€¦. Obama leads Romney by 20 points among female voters. And he leads Santorum by 26 points among female voters.â€ť
Women's views of the parties did not shift significantly between February and March, when a controversy erupted over how contraception would be treated under Obama's health-care reform law, said Michael Dimock, Pewâ€™s associate director of research.
For the moment, Democratic voters express more confidence that Obama will win reelection in November than Republicans do that their candidate will prevail, says Kohut.
â€śMore than 80 percent of Democrats anticipate a victory for Obama regardless of [Republican] candidate," he said. "But Republicans have mixed views.Â Just 60 percent of Republicans think that Romney will beat Obama, and only 46 percent think that Santorum will beat Obama.â€ť
The survey, based on telephone interviews conducted March 7-11, has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.Â