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Rick Santorum continues to lead Mitt Romney in Ohio

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum greeted people after giving a speech during a campaign stop today in Michigan.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum greeted people after giving a speech during a campaign stop today in Michigan.

Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum leads former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney by 7 points in Ohio, a crucial state that will vote a week from Tuesday, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll .

The poll found Santorum would receive support from 36 percent of likely Republican primary voters, followed by Romney with 29 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 17 percent, and Texas Representative Ron Paul with 11 percent.

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With 66 delegates at stake, the second-most of any state voting on Super Tuesday, March 6, Ohio will be an important state for all the candidates. It could also be a swing state in the general election. Ohio voters are likely familiar with Santorum, who was senator of neighboring Pennsylvania. But voters could also be swayed by the outcome of the vote in neighboring Michigan, Romney’s home state, which holds its primary tomorrow. Romney had been ahead in the polls Ohio until this month, when Santorum pulled past him, enjoying a surge of momentum from victories in Missouri, Colorado, and Minnesota.

As has been the trend in numerous polls, Santorum is ahead among men, Tea Party supporters, and conservatives. Romney is ahead among moderates, while women are evenly split.

The poll found that 45 percent of voters are still open to changing their minds.

The poll of 847 likely Republican voters was conducted Feb. 23 - 26 and has a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.
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