Romney opens up huge lead over rivals

Mitt Romney has pulled away from the rest of the GOP field in two new national polls, but he’s still running in a dead heat with President Obama.

According to a Fox News poll released Sunday, the former Massachusetts governor is now the choice of 40 percent of Republican voters. He is followed by former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum with 15 percent support, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 14 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 12 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 6 percent. (Full coverage of Mitt Romney’s campaign)

The daily Gallup tracking poll released Monday also shows Romney opening up a wide lead over his rivals. He has 37 percent support in that poll, followed by Santorum at 14 percent, Gingrich at 13 percent, Paul at 12 percent and Perry at 5 percent.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who dropped out of the race on Monday and endorsed Romney, had 5 percent support in the Fox News poll and 3 percent in the Gallup poll.

While Romney is dominating his Republican rivals for the nomination, he still faces a long, drawn-out fight with Obama once primary season comes to a close. A separate Fox News poll has Romney trailing Obama 45 percent to 46 percent, a difference well within the margin of error.

But while 26 percent of voters describe themselves as “very” confident in Obama’s ability to make the right decisions for the country, only 16 percent feel the same way about Romney. The president’s favorability rating also remains a healthy 51 percent, against 46 percent who view him unfavorably.

This post has been updated.

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