Polls: Romney tied with Santorum in Michigan, but trails nationally

A slew of new polling data for the GOP presidential primary released on Wednesday tells conflicting stories, but makes one thing clear — the race is very close.

Mitt Romney has pulled back into a tie with Rick Santorum in his home state of Michigan, according to the latest NBC News-Marist poll.

Romney leads with 37 percent followed by Santorum at 35 percent, but that’s a statistical tie considering the poll’s 1.8 percent margin of error. Ron Paul is in third place at 13 percent and Newt Gingrich rounds out the field with 8 percent.

ADVERTISEMENT
Some conservatives have predicted chaos in the GOP primaries if Romney were to lose Michigan, where his father was once governor and where he maintains close ties.

The dividing lines in the state are clear.

According to the poll, voters who identify as Tea Party supporters prefer Santorum by nearly 20 percent, and those who don’t support the Tea Party prefer Romney by more than 20 percent.


In Arizona, Romney has so far been able to fend off the surging Santorum, and is now pulling away from the field, according to the NBC News-Marist poll.

Romney leads with 43 percent, followed by Santorum at 27 percent, Gingrich at 16 percent and Paul at 11 percent.

However, a number of other polls have shown Santorum as the clear front-runner nationally, and a Quinnipiac University poll of Republican voters released on Wednesday confirms this trend. Santorum has 35 percent of support nationally, followed by Romney at 26 percent, Gingrich at 14 percent and Paul at 11 percent.

Santorum extends that lead in a head-to-head match-up against Romney nationally, 50 percent to 37 percent.

Again, voters are spread between the two front-runners along a clear divide.

"Sen. Rick Santorum's lead among Republican voters and GOP-leaning independents is built on the votes of Republican men, Tea Party supporters and white evangelical Christians," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Still, a plurality of Republican voters are unhappy with the field, as 48 percent said they would be unsatisfied if one of the four remaining candidates secured enough delegates to win the nomination, thereby avoiding a brokered convention.

Only 37 percent said they would be happy if one of the existing candidates were the nominee.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the overwhelming favorite among those rooting for a brokered convention, at 32 percent, followed by Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at 20 percent each, and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels at 15 percent.