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Two new polls: Santorum surges and now ties Romney

 

So how much did last week's non-binding caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota, as well as the beauty contest in Missouri, influence the GOP presidential contest?

So much so that Rick Santorum's victories in all three races have catapulted him into an essential tie with Mitt Romney, according to two new national polls. 

A Pew Research Center survey, conducted Feb. 8-12 among GOP registered voters, has Santorum at 30%, Romney at 28%, Newt Gingrich at 17%, and Ron Paul at 12%. In a Pew poll a month ago, it was Romney 31%, Gingrich 16%, Paul 15%, and Santorum 14%.

(In general election match-ups, Pew has President Obama leading Romney by eight points, 52%-44%; Santorum by 10, 53%-43%; and Gingrich by 18, 57%-39%.)

And a new Gallup poll, also conducted Feb. 8-12, has Romney at 32% among registered GOP voters, Santorum at 30%, Gingrich at 16%, and Paul at 8%.

A week ago, Santorum was at 16% -- so that's a 14-point increase for him.

Of course, the former Pennsylvania senator now becomes the latest Republican presidential candidate to surge in the national polls, joining the likes of Rick Perry, Herman Cain, and Newt Gingrich.

And it keeps alive this trend: A holding-steady Romney vs. a surging conservative alternative.