Mitt Romney is the 40 per cent. Finally.
A new Gallup poll has Romney crossing the 40 per cent threshold in Republican voter support, the first time any Republican in the 2012 campaign has reached the mark nationally.
Rick Santorum, meanwhile, is lagging further behind. Romney’s lead over Santorum increased to double digits again. He has built up a 14-point lead in the poll, which was taken amid a Romney victory in the Illinois primary and a subsequent endorsement from Jeb Bush. So, it doesn’t take any momentum Santorum might have gained from a victory in the Louisiana primary over the weekend.
But the significance lies in the 40 per cent mark, which might give an overinflated perception of Romney’s status in the Republican race. After all, it is only 2 per cent higher than the 38 per cent support he garnered after hard-fought primary victories in Michigan and Arizona about a month ago. And he led the Republican race by 23 percentage points after his primary victory in New Hampshire.
Both of those leads, of course, crumbled.
But Romney is in a much more solid standing with the Republican voters than he was after the Arizona and Michigan victories. For one, the primary schedule that swept through a Southern-heavy slate was not friendly to Romney. In this case, the only challenges he faces in the April primary slate come in Santorum’s home state of Pennsylvania and in Wisconsin, where a Rasmussen poll currently has him up double digits.
Also sort of note: Newt Gingrich gained a percentage point of support in the latest poll — undoubtedly a result of the phenomenon known as the Etch-a-Sketch bump.
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