Will former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney’s lead in Maryland turn into a win in Tuesday’s GOP presidential primary?
Romney has a 17-point advantage over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum in Maryland, according to a poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports on Wednesday. It showed Romney is supported by 45 percent of Maryland Republicans, Santorum by 28 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by 12 percent and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, by 7 percent.
Even though in Maryland on Tuesday, it is expected to be an important day in the presidential race, when the “moderate middle of the Maryland GOP will be relevant,” according to The Washington Post.
“There are more of us in this state than in others, I think, that are fiscally conservative and socially libertarian,” state Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, a Howard County Republican who supports Romney, told the Post. “Many Republicans here are concerned about some of the stands that senator [Rick] Santorum has taken or been advocating for . . . focusing more on social issues than economic ones.”
The Republican primary has become a race to the magic number of 1,144 delegates that would give a candidate the nomination. Romney has the lead with 558 delegates. Santorum is next with 273. Gingrich has 133 and Paul 50.
Maryland’s delegates are allocated through a combination of a winner-take-all system and a proportion distribution. The primary is also closed, meaning only registered Republicans can vote.
Maryland election officials that turnout Tuesday would likely be low, as the number of Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2 to 1 margin.
Wisconsin and the District of Columbia are also holding primary contests this week.
In recent days, Santorum has been campaigning on his appeal to working class voters. He went bowling in Chilton, WI, on Sunday.
“I feel a common denominator with him,” Carrie Pritchard, 40, a homemaker, told The New York Times. “If anybody can come to a bowling alley and hang out with everyone, I like that a lot.”
Santorum has not visited Maryland, but the state has attracted attention from other presidential candidates.
Romney stopped in , and Paul has visited the University of Maryland.
Gingrich and at Salisbury University last month.
-- With reporting from Capital News Service reporter Madeleine Marshall.
Weigh in below or in our poll: Who will take Maryland?