The presidential primary is not until Tuesday. But a new survey suggests the results may already be in.
A survey of 515 likely Republican voters on Sunday by Public Policy Polling found Mitt Romney with a 43-26 percent lead over Rick Santorum, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul even farther behind. Potentially more significant, almost half of those questioned had already cast early ballots, with Romney having a nearly 2-1 advantage over Santorum among that group. And Romney leads even among those who are waiting until the last minute.
Dustin Ingalls, the poll's assistant director, said the Romney campaign's organizational skills are paying off.
"I mean, he's got the most money," said Ingalls. "And he pays for it. He gets his voters out. He contacts people who have applied for absentee ballots. And that's a significant portion of the electorate in Arizona with a lot of retirees. None of the other candidates do any of that sort of voter contact."
But Ingalls said Romney's commanding lead is in part due to Santorum's popularity taking a nose dive.
"Santorum has really put his own foot in his mouth by talking so much about social issues and taking positions that are even too extreme for Republicans," said Ingalls. "And I think voters are a little concerned that'll be a problem in the general election."
And Ingalls said voters are far more concerned about economic issues than the social ones that have become the focus of Santorum's campaign.