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Romney aims to seal the deal

world Updated: Mar 07, 2012 02:17 IST

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Voters across America will have their say on Tuesday in what promises to be a pivotal day in the rollercoaster contest to see who will take on President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the November 6 general election.

Ohio, a largely working class swing state and key general election battleground, is considered the big prize, and Romney talked up its importance on Monday, characterising the race as a “battle for the soul of America.” “If you do your job tomorrow we’re going to win this thing,” he told cheering supporters at a rally in Zanesville.

Santorum, a devout Roman Catholic who fiercely opposes abortion and gay marriage, has billed himself as an authentic conservative who understands working class voters and can beat Obama in the manufacturing-heavy Rust Belt.

But a new poll released by Quinnipiac University gave Romney, the former governor of liberal Massachusetts, 34 % support from likely Ohio primary voters, while Santorum, a former Pennsylvania senator, was at 31 %.

The three-point margin makes the race too close to call. But the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute said the survey showed that the momentum was squarely with Romney, who one week ago trailed Santorum 36 to 29 %. Romney has won eight states, including a straw poll in Wyoming. Santorum has won three — four, if what amounted to a beauty contest in Missouri is counted.

Gingrich has won only South Carolina.

Texas congressman Ron Paul has no victories, though he hopes to do well Tuesday in the caucus states of Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota. Delegates are awarded by each state in the complex Republican Party nominating process, sometimes on a proportional and/or non-binding basis, until one candidate reaches the 1,144 delegate threshold required for victory.