Newt Gingrich's support may be drying up most places, but he's still got enough in North Carolina to potentially cost Rick Santorum a victory in a state that's an absolute must win for him.
Mitt Romney's leading in North Carolina with 34% to 30% for Santorum, 17% for Gingrich, and 11% for Ron Paul. But if Gingrich dropped out of the race Santorum would take the lead with 42% to 38% for Romney and 10% for Paul. Gingrich is definitely playing a spoiler role in North Carolina.
Compared to a PPP poll two weeks ago Romney's gained 4 points while Santorum's stayed in place, suggesting an increasing willingness for the GOP base to unify around Romney in the wake of his wins in Maryland and Wisconsin last week.
Romney's making serious in roads with the groups that have provided Santorum's base of support. For instance with Tea Party voters what was a 10 point lead for Santorum a couple weeks ago is only 2 points at 32-30. There's been a similar shift with Evangelicals, among whom Santorum's once 10 point lead is also down to 2 points at 34-32. Meanwhile Romney's winning by a whooping 41-9 spread with moderate voters and has his requisite strong support with seniors at 46-23.
Overall only 46% of North Carolina Republicans are strongly committed to a candidate with the primary less than a month away. That's a pretty strong commentary on how little passion this field has inspired with the GOP base. And it's also good news for Romney- no one's in love with him but as long as they're not in love with anyone else either it looks like he's going to take the nomination almost by default.
Full results here