Gallup: Romney and Santorum would split Gingrich votes

CBS

2012 - Elections Mitt Romney Rick Santorum Newt Gingrich
CBS
(CBS News) Despite conventional wisdom that says Newt Gingrich is siphoning conservative votes from Rick Santorum, a new poll by Gallup finds that both Santorum and Mitt Romney would split Gingrich supporters if the former House speaker dropped out of the race.

The Gallup poll released on Friday shows that 40 percent of Gingrich supporters said Romney was their second choice, compared to 39 percent who said Rick Santorum was their Gingrich alternative. The question has a 7 percent margin of error. 

This poll refutes the repeated calls by Santorum supporters' that Newt Gingrich is filling the role of a spoiler and his determination to stay in the race is helping the former Massachusetts governor win the nomination.

In addition to polling Gingrich backers, Gallup reallocated votes based on their polling numbers with Gingrich out of the race and found that the outcome changes little. Romney would get 40 percent of the vote and Santorum would receive 33 percent, with a 3 percent margin of error. Gallup says that seven-point lead is similar to the lead Romney has among voters based on Gallup's recent polls, which shows Romney has 34 percent to Santorum's 28 percent.

After the nominating contests on Super Tuesday more than one week ago, calls for Newt Gingrich to drop out have increased. Santorum's super PAC adviser Stuart Roy said "it is time for Newt Gingrich to exit the Republican nominating process." And John Brabender, Santorum's chief strategist told reporters, "If conservatives and tea party supporters unite behind Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney will not be the nominee."

Gallup interviewed 1,947 Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters polled between March 8 - 15.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

Comments