A new Fox News poll seems to debunk conservative claims that Mitt Romney would lose if either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum dropped out of the Republican presidential race.
Romney would still defeat either of them, the poll – taken before Tuesday night’s double win for Santorum in the Deep South – suggested.
The former Massachusetts governor would beat Santorum by 43 percent to 39 percent while his margin of victory over Gingrich would be a much wider 49 percent to 25 percent, the poll shows.
Supporters of both the former House speaker and the ex-Pennsylvania senator have claimed that if the other were to quit the race, their candidate would pick up so many votes that Romney would be vulnerable.
The poll, conducted between Saturday and Monday, showed support for Romney among Republican primary voters is up 5 percentage points from a similar poll taken in February. When all remaining candidates were considered, Romney now stands at 38 percent with Santorum at 32, Gingrich at 13 and Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 12.
When it comes to ideological purity, 58 percent said they would rather have a Republican candidate who can beat President Barack Obama, while 31 percent said they would prefer a true conservative who might be less likely to win in November.
Among all voters, the survey showed that Obama’s favorability rating now stands at 50 percent, well ahead of any of the Republican candidates. Romney is at 39 percent favorability, both Santorum and Paul are at 35 percent and Gingrich is at 23 percent.
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