Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum has moved into an 18-point lead over rival Mitt Romney in Tennessee. Registered likely and early voters favored the former Pennsylvania senator over the former Massachusetts governor 38 to 20 percent, a poll by Vanderbilt University’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions
The Feb. 16-22 poll of 815 registered voters who have either already voted or plan to vote in the March 6 presidential primary put Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, in third place with 15 percent and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 13 percent.
Santorum ran strongest with tea party members, tea party supporters, and born-again Christians, with 48 percent of tea party members, 45 percent of tea party supporters, and 40 percent of born-again Christians. Among those groups, Romney polled at 15 percent, 17 percent, and 19 percent, respectively.
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