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Poll: Gingrich has a large but tenuous lead in Minnesota

Posted by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger under 2012 Presidential election, Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Republicans Updated: January 25, 2012 - 3:03 PM

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is currently riding high among potential attendees to the Minnesota Republican Feb. 7 caucuses but that could change.

According to the poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling among 303 likely caucus goers on January 21-22, he would net 36 percent of the vote with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney getting 18 percent, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum getting 17 percent and Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul getting 13 percent.

But the numbers are "fluid," the pollster said. Fifteen percent said they were not sure who they would support in the  caucuses and more than 60 percent of respondents said they could change their minds.

Although Romney has high-profile Minnesota backers, including former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, the pollster found that Romney supporters are "least loyal." Of the 37 percent who are "strongly committed to a candidate" only 27 percent are Romney supporters, 39 percent are Gingrich supporters, 39 percent are Paul supporters and 46 percent of Santorum supporters.

Santorum is also the most likely to be Minnesota Republicans' second choice with 21 percent of them picking the former Pennsylvania Senator. He would pick up the most support from Gingrich backers.

If the race narrows down to just two -- Gingrich and Romney -- the former Massachusetts governor would lose handily. According to the poll half of Minnesotans would support Gingrich, including half of the would-be former Paul supporters. Romney would only get 29 percent in that two way contest.

That Paul came in fourth in the polling is notable, since he is the only candidate who has done significant work in Minnesota in advance of the caucuses.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percent.

Read the full polling here:

 

PPP Release MN 012412

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