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Poll: Santorum in first by wide margin among Texas Republicans

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

Santorum was favored by 45 percent of respondents. Newt Gingrich came in second with 18 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 16 percent and Rep. Ron Paul at 14 percent.

The survey was conducted online Feb. 8-15. 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 race in Texas in light of Gov. Rick Perry's exit and Santorum's recent nationwide surge. Last month, a poll of Texas GOP primary voters from Public Policy Polling found Romney leading with 24 percent support, followed by Gingrich, 23 percent; Perry, 18 percent; Santorum, 15 percent; and Paul, 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 by legal disputes over redistricting. A federal judge recently said the primary would likely take place May 29 but warned that it could end up even later.

Santorum is scheduled to attend a fundraiser in Westlake on Thursday.

Aman Batheja, 817-390-7695, Twitter: @amanbatheja

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