WASHINGTON -- Two final polls from CNN and Time in Ohio and Georgia provide political junkies with more to chew on, but largely confirming what other surveys have been telling us: Ohio remains a very close contest between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, while Newt Gingrich appears poised to win his home state of Georgia by a wide margin.
Meanwhile, the last two automated polls in Tennessee both show support for Gingrich rising while Santorum's margin against Romney shrinks, setting up the possibility of a close three-way finish in that state.
In Ohio, the new CNN/Time poll shows Romney and Santorum tied at 32 percent each, followed by Gingrich at 14 percent and Ron Paul at 11 percent. That margin is nearly the same as the estimate produced by the HuffPost Pollster chart for Ohio, based on all available public polls, including 11 completed in the past week. The chart shows Santorum ahead of Romney by just a tenth of a percentage point (32.6 percent to 32.5 percent) -- in other words, the race is as close as it gets, well within the statistical and real-world margin of error for primary election polling. Newt Gingrich (15.7 percent) and Ron Paul (11.9 percent) run a distant third and fourth place.
The CNN/Time poll in Georgia shows Gingrich leading Romney by a 23-point margin (47 percent to 24 percent) followed by Santorum (15 percent) and Paul (9 percent). That margin is slightly wider than the current estimate from HuffPost Pollster's Georgia chart, which shows Gingrich leading Romney by more than 20 percentage points (44.3 percent to 23.5 percent), followed by Santorum (17.6 percent) and Paul (7.7 percent). The Georgia chart is based on 22 surveys in all, including eight completed within the past week.
The two CNN polls interviewed likely Republican primary voters from March 1 to March 4 using live interviewers to call samples of landline and mobile telephone numbers.
The most surprising finish may be underway in Tennessee, where two automated, recorded voice polls conducted over the weekend both show support for Newt Gingrich climbing rapidly. The two surveys were conducted by WeAsk America, an affiliate of the Illinois Manufacturers Association, and Public Policy Polling (PPP), a company that conducts surveys for local Democratic candidates.
The WeAskAmerica poll showed all three frontrunners separated by a single percentage point, 30 percent for Romney and 29 percent each for Santorum and Gingrich. The PPP poll gave Santorum a slightly larger share of the vote (34 percent), followed by Romney (29 percent) and Gingrich (27 percent). Other Tennessee surveys conducted late last week had Gingrich significantly lower.
The HuffPost Pollster chart for Tennessee is based on just seven polls, but four were conducted in the past week, and the trend lines illustrate both the erosion in Santorum's support and the apparent sharp upward movement toward Gingrich over the past week. The current estimate produced by the chart is Santorum 31.5 percent, Romney 29.5, Gingrich 28.0 percent and Paul 10.0 percent.
[Note that the charts in this article will update if and when new polls become available; click through to the HuffPost Pollster Election Dashboard for fully interactive versions and full details on all polls].
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