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Rick Santorum Front-Runner Among GOP Candidates

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Jon Delano Jon Delano
Jon Delano is a familiar face on KDKA-TV, having been the station's...
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Election Returns

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — By some accounts, it’s fair to call Rick Santorum the front-runner for the Republican nomination for president.

And it comes just as he prepares for the 20th debate in this contest against Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul.

It comes as Santorum, who often speaks in religious terms, is under attack for old comments about Satan targeting America.

Today, he wouldn’t back away, turning remarks on President Obama instead.

“And yet our president refuses to call evil evil, refuses to even name it, refuses to confront it,” Santorum told a crowd in Arizona.

The strong language is having an impact.

The latest Quinnipiac Poll has Santorum the favorite of Republican and Republican-leaning independents, nationally, by a 13-point margin.

Santorum has 50 percent, Romney has 37 percent, Gingrich has 14 percent, and Paul has 11 percent.

Among that group, Santorum is strongest among white evangelical Christians, Tea Party members and self-styled conservatives, while Romney’s support comes from moderates, college-educated voters and those with family incomes over a $100,000.

With the title of front-runner, Santorum expects to be the target at Wednesday night’s Arizona debate.

Now this same poll shows President Obama beating both Romney and Santorum, with Romney being slightly stronger.

That parallels other national polls that show the president’s lead growing while Republicans squabble among themselves.

Of course, for next Tuesday and Super Tuesday, what really counts are the state results, not these national polls.

And these 12 contests on February 28 and March 6 will establish whether Rick Santorum is the front-runner, or not.

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