Heading into Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, the odds clearly favor former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to run the table in The Silver State.
Romney is hoping to turn Tuesday’s victory in Florida into the longest winning streak of the GOP presidential nomination contest thus far with a back-to-back win in Nevada.
And if the polls are any indication, Romney is a heavy favorite to do just that.
A poll released on Wednesday by the Las Vegas Review-Journal
and 8NewsNow shows Romney with 45 percent support among registered Nevada Republicans likely to vote on Saturday; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was second, with 25 percent.
The two front-runners are followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 11 percent support and Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 9 percent support.
Another 9 percent of likely Republican voters in Nevada were still undecided and posed a wild card, which could help propel Romney to a 50 percent winning margin.
Romney is likely to be helped by fellow Mormons, who overwhelmingly said they planned to vote for him — with 85 percent of those identifying themselves as part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints firmly in the Romney camp.
While Mormons account for only 7 percent of Nevada’s overall population, they made up one-quarter of GOP caucus-goers in 2008.
Romney went on to win the 2008 caucuses with 51 percent of the vote. As many as half of his votes came from Mormons.
Interestingly, Gingrich outperformed Romney among Nevada Republicans who identified themselves in the poll as strong supporters of the tea party, by a margin of 37 to 27 percent.
Gingrich also outperformed his rival in the same demographic in the Florida primary, according to exit polls compiled by Fox News.
The Nevada poll was conducted by the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Cannon Survey last Friday through Tuesday of 608 registered Republicans, including 426 likely voters. The margin of error was 4.75 percent.
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