Polls: Romney cuts Santorum's Tennessee lead to four points

Two new polls released Sunday show Mitt Romney surging in Tennessee, closing the gap behind rival Rick Santorum.

Santorum has 34 percent support to Romney's 30 percent among likely GOP voters in the state, according to the latest survey from conservative polling outlet Rasmussen Reports. But Santorum's edge is within the poll's four-point margin of error.

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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich follows with 18 percent support, trailed by Ron Paul with 8 percent.

Romney also trails Santorum by four points in an American Research Group poll. That poll, also released Sunday, shows Santorum with 35 percent support among likely GOP voters to Romney's 31 percent, a lead again within a four-point margin of error. Gingrich shows at 20 percent support with Paul at 9 percent.

Santorum though leads Romney 47 percent to 35 percent among those who have already voted in the primary, according to ARG.

Santorum's edge in the ARG poll is thanks to his big margin of Tea Party support. Santorum leads among Tea Party-backers with 43 percent support, followed by Gingrich with 30 percent and Romney with 17 percent.

Romney bests the GOP field among likely voters who say they do not back the Tea Party movement, with 49 percent support.

Tennessee will award 58 delegates on Tuesday, one of 10 states to vote that day. Only Georgia and Ohio have more delegates up for grabs in the March 6 contests.

Oklahoma, Alaska, Idaho, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Vermont and Virginia will also vote on Super Tuesday.

The polls show large gains for Romney in a state where he trailed by double digits just a week ago.

A poll released last Wednesday, showed Santorum with a commanding 21-point lead in the Super Tuesday battleground. In that poll from Middle Tennessee State University, Santorum held support from 40 percent of likely voters to 19 percent for Romney. 

The Middle Tennessee State survey though was conducted before Romney’s sweep in last Tuesday's GOP nominating contests. Romney won last week in Michigan and Arizona and on Saturday added to his victories by finishing first in Washington state's caucuses.

The Rasmussen survey, conducted on Saturday, March. 3, has a four-point margin of error.

The American Research Group survey was conducted from March 1 to March 3 and also has a four-point margin of error.

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