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Poll: Santorum way ahead among Texas Republicans

A new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll released Monday morning shows Rick Santorum's support among Texas Republicans is almost equal to the combined support of his three leading rivals in the GOP primary.

Santorum drew 45 percent of the vote in the survey. Newt Gingrich came in second with 18 percent support, followed by Mitt Romney at 16 percent and US Rep. Ron Paul, R-Lake Jackson, at 14 percent.

The survey was conducted online Feb. 8-15 from a dataset of 800 Texas voters and then weighted to better match the overall Texas population. The presidential preference portion of the poll had a margin of error of 5.1 percentage points.

The results suggest a major reshuffling of the presidential race in Texas in light of Gov. Rick Perry's exit from the race and Santorum's recent nationwide surge. Last month, a poll of Texas Republican primary voters from Public Policy Polling found Romney leading with 24 percent support followed closely by Gingrich at 23 percent and Perry at 18 percent. Santorum came in fourth at 15 percent followed by Paul at 12 percent.

This would be better news for Santorum if the Texas primary were taking place soon. It was originally scheduled for early March but has since been pushed back multiple times due to legal disptues over political maps. A federal judge recently said the primary would likely take place on May 29 but warned it could end up even later.

Santorum will be in North Texas this Thursday. He is scheduled to attend a Westlake fundraiser for the Red, White and Blue Fund, a Super PAC supporting his presidential campaign.