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Romney: Arizona now too close to call as Santorum rises

A new poll puts Arizona, once Romney country, within a margin of error separating him from Rick Santorum.

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A supporter waits for the start of a town-hall meeting that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held today in Shelby Township, Michigan. (Bill Pugliano/AFP/Getty Images)

Weakened on the national stage, Mitt Romney can now no longer even be confident of a win in Arizona, a state where until now he had enjoyed commanding leads, according to a new CNN/Time poll released this afternoon.

The poll puts him at 36 percent and his main rival, the nationally favored ex-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum at 32 percent, or within the poll’s margin of error.

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The poll is the first to be conducted since the Romney campaign suffered a blow in Arizona on Saturday when its co-chair, Pinal County Sherif Paul Babeu resigned to address allegations that he had threatened to deport his Mexican ex-boyfriend in order to keep their affair a secret.

Babeu has denied any wrongdoing but may now face calls for an investigation, according to the local television news station KSAZ.

Santorum now enjoys a ten-point lead over Romney nationwide, according to the latest Gallup tracking poll results.

But his remarks in 2008 have also garnered attention that may prevent him from appealing to a broader selection of the public. The right-leaning news site Drudge Report today posted the words of a Santorum homily in which he said Satan was attacking the US and that US Protestantism was in “shambles.”

Romney may still be the slight favorite for an Arizona win. FiveThirtyEight, the New York Times election forecast blog run by Nate Silver, currently gives Romney an 84 percent chance of a win in Arizona.

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However Santorum has a 51 percent chance of winning in Romney’s supposed home state, Michigan, according to FiveThirtyEight. The two candidates are virtually tied in the state, according to the Detroit Free Press.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120221/romney-arizona-now-too-close-call-santorum-rises