In 10 of the 14 Republican primary or caucus states, one or more of Romney’s GOP rivals has beaten him among independent voters -- at times significantly. In Virginia on Super Tuesday, Ron Paul clobbered Romney, 64 percent to 36 percent, among the 32 percent of the electorate who described themselves as independents. In Ohio (37 percent to 31 percent) and Tennessee (38 percent to 25 percent) Romney lost the independent vote to Rick Santorum. Newt Gingrich carried independent voters by healthy margins in South Carolina and Georgia. The problem is not just Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, most of whom will probably embrace Romney if he wins the nomination. A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that Romney has lost ground to President Obama among independent voters across the country as the caustic GOP campaign drags on. Romney led Obama among independent voters by 10 points in January. By mid-February, according to Pew, Obama was beating Romney, 51-42.
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