Poll: Romney holds 21-point lead in Nevada

A new poll shows Mitt Romney holding a commanding 21-point lead over Newt Gingrich in Nevada, two days ahead of that state's GOP caucuses.

An 8NewsNow/Las Vegas Review-Journal poll of registered GOP voters shows the former Massachusetts governor with support from 45 percent to Gingrich's 24 percent support.  

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum is third with 11 percent and Ron Paul trails with 9 percent.

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The state has a large Mormon population and the 8NewsNow poll shows Romney with strong support among voters who share his faith. Eighty-five percent of Mormons surveyed support Romney. 

Romney also has a strong edge among younger Republican voters, attracting 56 percent of those under 35. Rep. Paul gets 18 percent and Gingrich 13 percent.

Gingrich, though, holds an edge with self-identified conservative voters.

Those who strongly support the Tea Party back Gingrich with 37 percent support to Romney at 27 and Santorum with 20.



Those voters who don't support the Tea Party back Romney 58 percent to Paul's 19, with 10 percent for Gingrich.


Romney, fresh off a resounding victory in Tuesday's Florida primary, is seen as the favorite in Nevada, a state he won in 2008, besting eventual GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.).

Twenty-eight delegates are up for grabs in Nevada's caucuses. 

Rivals Paul and Santorum moved on from Florida before that state's vote to focus on states out west. Santorum's campaign has begun airing new ads atacking Gingrich in Nevada and Colorado.

Paul, who finished fourth in Florida, has argued that his young supporters and strong campaign organization will help him perform well in caucus states like Nevada. 

Nevada launches an important month in the GOP race. Voters wil hit the polls in five states over the next week — Nevada, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri — and Romney's rivals face uphill challenges as they look to slow his momentum. 

Romney is favored in Nevada and Colorado, both of which have large Mormon populations, and in Maine, where he is well-known, having served as governor of nearby Massachusetts.

The 8NewsNow/Review-Journal poll was conducted by the UNLV Cannon Survey Center. Four hundred and twenty-six voters were surveyed by phone from Jan. 27 to Feb. 1. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.