Most Republicans believe Mitt Romney will be their party’s Presidential nominee and that he has the best chance to beat President Barack Obama in November, a national poll released Tuesday found.
But the CNN/ORC International poll found little enthusiasm for the former Massachusetts governor’s presidential bid, instead favouring Christian conservative Rick Santorum over Romney, 34 to 32%.
The poll findings underscored Romney's failure to ignite his base weeks into a primary season that has seen one candidate after another surge to challenge his de facto frontrunner status, and then lose steam.
Santorum is the latest to be lifted by a sudden wave of support that has taken him to the front of the Republican field in national polls. The poll showed that Santorum had the strongest support of all the candidates among Republicans over 50, college graduates, strong Tea Party supporters, self-described conservatives and men. But women preferred Romney by a 38 to 29 percent margin over Santorum, who has drawn fire in the past week over a 2005 book that scoffed at the "radical" feminist view that men and women should have equal opportunity to rise to top jobs in the workplace.
That compared to 13% for Santorum, 11% for former House speaker Newt Gingrich.