Quinnipiac: Ohio too close to call

Last week, the results of a University of Cincinnati ten-day survey showed Rick Santorum up by eleven among likely voters in Ohio, the key Super Tuesday state.  However, that was mainly taken before the last debate nine days ago and entirely before Mitt Romney won in both Michigan and Arizona.  A new Quinnipiac poll of likely voters in the state taken over the previous three days shows Santorum still leading, but now within the margin of error:

The Republican presidential face-off in Ohio is too close to call as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum has 35 percent of likely Republican primary voters to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s 31 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

This compares to a 36 – 29 percent Santorum lead in a February 27 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll, the day before the hotly-contested Michigan primary. …

Santorum leads Romney 34 – 28 percent among men and 37 – 33 percent among women, 40 – 27 percent among self-described conservatives and 42 – 25 percent among Tea Party members. Romney leads Santorum 46 – 26 percent among self-described moderates.

It would be interesting to see the breakdown of results from Tuesday’s survey responses — before Romney’s win in Michigan — and on Wednesday and Thursday after the sweep.  Quinnipiac doesn’t mention it, but it would surprise me if the result in Michigan had no impact, especially since Quinnipiac did that one-day survey on Monday and found a seven-point lead for Santorum.  The change between the two is subtle, entirely within the margin of error, but the results of each day might indicate whether it’s real or not.

There are a few interesting points to note in the internals, mostly still favorable for Santorum.  He leads Romney among both men (34/28) and women (37/33), the latter within the MOE; so much for the “gender gap,” at least for now.  Breakdowns between conservatives and moderates are almost mirror images, with conservatives breaking for Santorum at 40/27 and moderates for Romney at 46/26, an advantage for Romney in a swing state like Ohio.  Romney barely edges Santorum among those with college degrees (37/34), a bit of a surprise given the controversial “snob” remarks Santorum made this week in Michigan, but Santorum leads 36/27 among those without college degrees.  Santorum also wins two of the three age demos by double digits: 18-49YOs (37/25) and 50-64YOs (40/30).  Romney wins seniors 40/27.  Favorability is almost dead even, with Romney at 53/34 and Santorum at 57/24, and Santorum does better with women, 55/24 to Romney’s 50/37.

We’ll need to see more polling out of Ohio over the weekend to see whether anyone has momentum.  Both candidates will have to spend a lot of time in the state in order to pull out a victory, and Santorum could reestablish credibility by beating Romney in this Rust Belt swing state.  However, bear in mind that he will have to do so by a significant margin to overcome the handicap of failing to qualify for delegates in three Congressional districts, at least in terms of delegate allocation.  (via Jim Geraghty)

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