Romney with Florida supporters_390.
(photo credit: Reuters)
WASHINGTON - Despite his strong showing in early voting contests in the race for the US Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney's support among Republicans nationwide has dipped slightly during the past month, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Tuesday.
Romney was backed by 29 percent of Republican voters in the telephone poll conducted Feb. 2-6, down from 30 percent in a survey in early January. The former Massachusetts governor's three rivals in the race to oppose US Democratic President Barack Obama in November were in a close race for second, the poll showed.
Texas Congressman Ron Paul's support grew by 5 percentage points to 21 percent, moving him into second place and ahead of former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich, whose support slipped to 19 percent from 20 percent.
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum also rose by 5 points to reach 18 percent, just behind Gingrich, according to the poll.
The results suggest that Romney -- despite his vast advantages in organization, fundraising and momentum after victories in New Hampshire, Florida and Nevada - still has many doubters among Republicans nationwide.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll also showed Obama's approval rating ticking upward during the past month, a period in which favorable reports on the economy seem to have given his re-election effort some momentum.
Obama's approval rating in the new poll is 48 percent, up from 47 percent in January. His disapproval rating is higher, however: 49 percent, unchanged from last month.
The telephone poll of 1,033 adults included 881 registered voters, of whom 503 were Democrats, 405 Republicans and 125 independents.
The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points for all respondents, 3.3 points for registered voters, 4.4 points for Democrats, 4.9 points for Republicans and 9.6 percent for independents.
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