The flashes of anger and tongue-tied frustration he showed in Wednesday’s debate in Arizona — admitting to voting against his principles to fund abortion and federal educational testing mandates — seem to have taken their toll for Rick Santorum’s once commanding lead in the national polls.
The latest Gallup tracking poll results, which had recently given the former Pennsylvania senator a ten-point lead, now say the two are neck and neck, with Santorum down two points to 31 percent and Romney up three points to 30 percent.
Conversely, poll results released Saturday by the American Research Group show that the gap is narrowing between the two men in Arizona, where Romney had until now enjoyed a significant advantage, according to CNN. Romney now leads Santorum 39 percent to 35 percent. (A previous poll of Feb 13 to Feb 14 had put Romney ahead 38 percent to 31 percent.)
Like Arizona, Michigan will also hold its GOP primary on Tuesday. Romney has pinned much of his chances — and his claim to electability versus President Barack Obama — on winning Michigan, his former home state.
However, CBS News said Saturday that Romney’s efforts and his larger war chest have not given him a large advantage in polls in the sate.
A RealClearPolitics polling average gives Romney a lead of only 1.6 percent over Santorum, which shows Santorum weakening in the state, but only by a little in the last two weeks.