Gallup: Santorum Opens Dougle-Digit National Lead Over Romney, 36 to 26

By Terence P. Jeffrey | February 20, 2012 | 1:24pm EST

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania speaking to the Ohio Christian Alliance in Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 18, 2012. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania has opened a double-digit lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in Gallup’s national tracking poll of the Republican presidential race.

In the five-day polling period ending on Sunday, Feb. 19, Santorum was first with 36 percent, Romney was second with 26 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was third with 13 percent, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas was fourth with 11 percent.

Each day, Gallup publishes the five-day rolling average of the results from its tracking poll of the Republican presidential primary field. Gallup’s tracking poll for the five-day period from Feb. 14-19, surveyed 1,194 registered Republican voters and Republican-leaning independents and had a margin of error of +/- 4 points. Santorum’s 10-point lead in this survey was larger than the poll’s margin of error.

Santorum has gained 20 points in Gallup’s tracking poll in the last two weeks, while Romney has dropped 11 points. In the five-day polling period ending on Feb. 6, Romney led the Republican field with 37 percent, Gingrich was second with 22 percent, Santorum was third with 16 percent and Paul was fourth with 11 percent.

On Feb. 7, Santorum won caucuses in Colorado and Minnesota and a non-binding primary in Missouri.  Next Tuesday, Feb. 28, Republicans will hold presidential primaries in Michigan and Arizona.

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