Mitt Romney translated an apparent misstep from Rick Santorum, his chief rival for the Republican presidential nomination, into a six-point advantage in the polls, the latest numbers suggest.
Santorum admitted Wednesday he sometimes voted against his personal beliefs during his time as a Pennsylvania senator.
According to the Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Republican voters on Thursday, Romney now enjoys 40 percent support compared to Santorum’s 36. Rasmussen surveyed 750 voters one day after televised debates in Arizona.
It during those TV debates that Santorum said he sometimes voted along party lines despite his misgivings. He suggested he didn’t support President Bush’s education policy even though he voted for it.
“It was against the principles I believed in,” Santorum said, the Associated Press reported. “But, you know, when you’re part of the team, sometimes you take one for the team.”
Michigan and Arizona Republicans vote on Tuesday.
More from GlobalPost: Arizona too close to call
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, pounced.
“People go to Washington and they vote for things that they don’t believe in,” Romney said in Detroit, according to Bloomberg.
The gambit paid off in the Rasmussen poll, which earlier showed Santorum ahead by 4 percent, the LA Times said. It’s a vital gain for Romney, who was born in Michigan to a former governor and auto executive.
A second poll also showed a closer race, the Detroit Free Press said.
Mitchell Research/Rosetta Stone said Romney leads 36 to 33 percent while Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich have fallen well back.
The poll of 430 Republican voters also suggests Romney is starting to win over the GOP’s most conservative voters.
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