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Poll: GOP Favors Santorum over Romney but Both Score Low Broadly

AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rick Santorum reached a new high in favorable ratings from Republicans in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, numerically outpointing Mitt Romney among party regulars.

But both remain underwater more broadly, a sign of the toll of their contentious primary campaign.

And then there’s the thrice-married Newt Gingrich, who was resoundingly rejected, in particular, by women surveyed: A mere 19 percent of them see him favorably, versus a remarkable 60 percent unfavorably.  He’s also unpopular among men, by a less garish but still wide 23-point margin.

Within the GOP, 63 percent express a favorable opinion of Santorum, versus 58 percent for Romney -- not a statistically significant difference, but a challenging one for Romney given his advantages in campaign spending and, until recently, name recognition.  Gingrich trails with just 43 percent favorability in his own party, a point from his low two weeks ago.

Among other groups, Santorum is seen favorably by 54 percent of conservatives, 59 percent of “very” conservatives and 72 percent of conservative Republicans in this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates.  That’s 9 points more than Romney’s score in each of those groups, with Gingrich again trailing them both.

Romney, for his part, has been consistently better-rated than Santorum among moderates, liberals and independents.  This essentially evens their scores: Among all Americans, 38 percent see Romney favorably, while 36 percent think the same of Santorum.

That said, 42 and 40 percent, respectively, see them unfavorably. Gingrich fares worse: 24 percent favorable, 56 percent unfavorable.

While unwelcome for any public figure, these net negative ratings are not new for the GOP candidates.  More Americans have seen Romney unfavorably than favorably in seven of 10 ABC/Post polls this election cycle, Santorum in four of six, and Gingrich in seven of seven. 

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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