Momentum has swung strongly in Mitt Romney's direction among Washington Republicans over the last two weeks. He now leads in the state with 37% to 32% for Rick Santorum, 16% for Ron Paul, and 13% for Newt Gingrich. That represents a reversal from PPP's previous poll which found Santorum in the driver's seat with 38% to Romney's 27%. The large shift in Washington reflects what has happened in the race nationally over that period of time.
Two weeks ago Santorum's net favorability was 46 points better than Romney's in Washington. Now it's only 11 points better. Santorum's popularity has declined, going from +51 (69/18) to just +29 (60/31). Meanwhile Romney is on the up swing, going from only +5 (47/42) to +18 (55/37).
If Romney does end up winning Saturday night it will be a large Mormon vote that puts him over the top. We find that 14% of likely caucus goers are Mormons and 64% of them support Romney to 15% for Paul and 13% for Santorum. Romney actually trails Santorum 35-32 with non-Mormons. Other groups Romney is particularly strong with include seniors (44-31), men (37-28), and moderates (34-22).
In the places he's been successful Santorum has dominated the race with three core groups: Evangelicals, Tea Partiers, and those describing themselves as 'very conservative.' He's winning all those groups in Washington, but not by nearly the margin he needs to. He's only up 41-30 with Evangelicals, 41-34 with Tea Party identifiers, and 38-35 with those self labeling as 'very conservative.' In the states where Santorum's won his leads with those groups have been closer to the 25-30 point range.
Washington doesn't have party registration, which conceivably lends itself to the possibility of some more 'Operation Hilarity' on Saturday. But among the 21% of likely caucus goers who identify as Democrats or independents Paul leads with 33% to 28% for Santorum and 27% for Romney. The prospects for hilarity in Washington appear limited.
Full results here