Romney has big leads in next US voting states

By REUTERS
January 6, 2012 22:39

 
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MANCHESTER - Mitt Romney has surged to the front of the Republican pack in South Carolina, a poll said on Friday, a sign that the former governor could emerge as a formidable front-runner from the first phase of the nomination race.

Backing for Romney jumped to 37 percent, a 17 percent increase since early December, according to a Time/CNN/ORC poll of likely South Carolina primary voters conducted on Wednesday and Thursday.

If Romney follows his slim victory in Iowa's caucuses with a win in next week's primary in New Hampshire, where he has a solid lead, a triumph in South Carolina on January 21 could give him a nearly insurmountable edge as he vies for the nomination to oppose Democratic President Barack Obama in November's election.

The South Carolina poll showed support for Romney from a range of Republican voters, with backing from 35 percent of born-again Christians, 32 percent of Tea Party movement backers and 37 percent of self-described conservatives, Time said.

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