Mitt Romney overtakes Rick Santorum in Wisconsin

at 02:36 PM ET, 03/27/2012

Mitt Romney has overtaken Rick Santorum in Wisconsin, a new Marquette University poll finds, in a dramatic shift since last month.

The former Massachusetts governor leads the former Pennsylvania senator 39 percent to 31 percent.

An independent, nonpartisan poll had not been taken in the Badger State since February, when Santorum led Romney 34 percent to 18 percent.
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop at an American Legion post in Arbutus, Md., Wednesday, March 21, 2012. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) (Steven Senne - AP)

While Romney’s lead is not as daunting as Santorum’s was a month ago, he clearly has the momentum going into the April 3 primary.

The turnaround in the candidates’ relative fortunes is due in large part to the massive spending edge that Romney and his aligned super PAC have over Santorum. This week, Santorum’s allies at the Red White & Blue Fund are spending $304,000; the candidate himself is spending nothing. Romney and the super PAC Restore Our Future together are spending over $1.5 million this week — and they spent a million last week, when there was no pro-Santorum spending.

Both sides have started going negative.

So far in the presidential race, Santorum has shown strength in the Midwest, winning Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri. But Romney has now won Illinois, Ohio and Michigan, and he appears poised to win Wisconsin.

Santorum even expressed doubts about his chances on Monday, saying he wasn’t sure he could win the state.

Marquette is also out with a poll on the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall, finding a very tight race between Gov. Scott Walker (R) and his likely Democratic challengers.

 
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