Mitt Romney holds a 7 percentage point lead over Rick Santorum in the Wisconsin Republican presidential primary race, a poll indicates.
The NBC/Marist poll found 40 percent of likely primary voters said they support Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, to 33 percent for Santorum, 11 percent for Ron Paul and 8 percent for Newt Gingrich, MSNBC reported.
The Tuesday primary in Wisconsin, a winner-take-all state with 42 delegates at stake, is seen as critical for Santorum's bid for the nomination, The Hill said.
Romney is considered likely to sweep Tuesday's other primaries, in Maryland and the District of Columbia, where Santorum, the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, did not make the ballot, and Romney already has more than twice as many delegates as Santorum, who lost Midwest races in Michigan and Ohio.
Romney picked up an endorsement Friday from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., The Hill said.
"I am convinced that Mitt Romney has the skills, the tenacity, the principles, the courage and the integrity to do what it takes to get America back on track. So I believe he's the right person for the job," Ryan said on Fox News.
In a general election race between Romney and President Obama, the poll found among registered Wisconsin voters, Obama holds a lead of 52 percent to 35 percent, with 13 percent undecided.
In the recall vote on Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker, 48 percent said they would vote for the Democratic candidate who will face Walker while 46 percent said they would vote for the governor, who came under heavy criticism for his effort to reduce collective-bargaining rights for the state's public-sector employees.
Walker's approval and disapproval ratings both stood at 48 percent.
Among likely Republican voters in the state, 51 percent said they're following the recall vote more closely than the presidential primary.
The poll, conducted Monday and Tuesday, is based on responses from of 2,792 registered voters (with a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points) and of 740 likely Republican primary voters (with a margin of error of 3.6 percentage points).
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