Poll: Romney slips, Pawlenty gains in Nevada

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues to lead the rumored Republican presidential field in Nevada, but his support in the state has declined during the past year.

The latest numbers from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling show Romney topping the field with 24 percent of the vote. Real estate mogul Donald Trump sits in second at 16 percent, followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 11 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 10 percent.

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty are tied at 8 percent, which marks a 7-point jump for Pawlenty from the last time PPP polled the state in January.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) garnered 7 percent support, followed by Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) with 5 percent.

Last fall, Romney led the field with 34 percent of the vote, and his support in the state stood at 31 percent in January of this year.

"It's no coincidence that Romney's loss of support coincides with Pawlenty vaulting from 1% in January to now 8% in the Nevada polling," wrote pollster Tom Jensen. "The two appeal to a similar type of voter and generally any time we've seen Pawlenty gain we've seen a corresponding Romney fall."

Removing Trump, Palin or Huckabee from the 2012 equation means a higher level of support for Romney. In a hypothetical race without Huckabee or Trump, Romney leads the field with 33 percent. In a race absent Palin and Trump, Romney tops the field with 31 percent of the vote.

The poll surveyed 300 Nevada Republican primary voters and has a margin of error of 5.7 percent.