Oklahoma GOP voters recognize Romney's upside

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: March 1, 2012
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Mitt Romney's campaign gained steam this week with primary victories in Michigan and Arizona, and now he moves ahead to Super Tuesday where, in Oklahoma, he will face Republican voters who have mixed feelings about him.

Romney in Oklahoma has trailed the other GOP contenders from the start of the campaign. Presently Rick Santorum is the favorite — 70 percent of likely Republican voters surveyed in February by SoonerPoll.com had a favorable opinion of the former Pennsylvania senator. Santorum's overt social conservatism sits well with Oklahoma conservatives, as does his demeanor, which may be easier to warm to than Romney's buttoned-down persona. This may explain Santorum outpacing Romney (and Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul) in the area of honesty and trustworthiness.

But the area in which Romney far outstrips the field is the one Oklahomans should note when they go to the polls Tuesday. Forty-three percent of those surveyed said that if victory is the main objective in November, then Romney is the best pick. Santorum garnered 23 percent support on that question, Gingrich just 19 percent.

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