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Pollster: Romney 'headed for blow out win' in Az
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Pollster: Romney 'headed for blow out win' in Az

  • Romney at the Mesa GOP debate Wednesday.
    Will Seberger/TucsonSentinel.comRomney at the Mesa GOP debate Wednesday.

Mitt Romney's lead over Rick Santorum in Arizona is so wide that a polling company abandoned its plans for a two-night survey.

"With the numbers this lopsided we're not going to bother," Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen said of Romney's 43-26 percent lead.

Newt Gingrich trails with 18 percent, and Ron Paul got the nod from 11 percent of those surveyed.

Arizona's presidential primary is Tuesday, but early voting has been taking place since the beginning of the month. More than 48,000 Pima County Republicans have already returned their ballots, out of 85,000 sent out.

Statewide, over 200,000 ballots have already been returned.

"You can make a fair argument that Romney's already won the Arizona primary. Almost half of those planning to vote have already cast their ballots, and Romney has a 48-25 advantage over Santorum with those folks," Jensen said in an analysis of the poll.

"That lead makes it nearly impossible for Santorum to make up the difference on election day, and Romney has a 39-27 advantage with those planning to vote on Tuesday anyway," he said.

More from Jensen:

Romney's winning basically winning every voter group in Arizona, even those he's tended to do quite poorly with. He leads Santorum 39-33 with Evangelicals, 39-23 with Tea Party voters (Santorum's in 3rd, Gingrich is actually 2nd at 30 percent), and 37-29 with those describing themselves as 'very conservative.' We project the Mormon vote at 14 percent. Romney leads 77-9 with them, but he has a 38-29 advantage with non-Mormons as well. Seniors are a key base of support for him in Arizona as they are everywhere. He leads 53-22 with them.

Santorum's image has taken a big hit over the last week in the state. His net favorability has dropped 15 points from +34 (61/27) to just +19 (54/35). The debate Wednesday night may have damaged his cause. 51 percent of likely voters report having watched it and he's actually in 3rd place with those folks at 21 percent, behind Romney's 43 percent and Gingrich's 23 percent.

Santorum may also have misstepped by talking too much about social issues in the last few weeks. 68 percent of Arizona voters say economic issues are their top concern when deciding who to vote for, compared to just 11 percent who say social issues are paramount. With the folks most concerned about economic issues he trails Romney 48-24.

It's worth noting that Romney's improved his image in the closing stretch in Arizona- it's not just bringing down Santorum that's put him in position for this big win. Romney's net favorability is now +31 at 62/31, up from +24 at 58/34 a week ago.

We had been planning to do a 2 night Arizona tracking poll but with the numbers this lopsided we're not going to bother, so this will be our final word on the race there.

While PPP is a firm largely hired by Democratic candidates, its surveys show a slight tilt toward Republicans. 

A survey by conservative pollster Rasmussen Reports, taken after Wednesday's debate, showed Romney leading Santorum 42-29 percent.

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