The Minnesota Republican caucus is set to be a highly competitive race, with all the four candidates in the fray engaging in a close fight. Minnesota caucuses on Feb 7 at 7pm and the state has 40 delegates, in its non-binding caucus.
The latest poll results by the Public Policy Polling (PPP) are surprising as it is Rick Santorum who is leading the race in Minnesota. The current frontrunner for the GOP nomination Mitt Romney is behind him in the second place while Newt Gingrich is in the third position, followed by Ron Paul.
According PPP polls, Santorum has 29 percentage of backing while Romney is closely behind with 27 percentage followed by Gingrich at 22 . Texas Congressman Ron Paul has 19 percent of votes.
The polls clearly indicate that it is going to be a close race among all the four candidates as the deficit among them is not very large. The fact that Minnesota is a caucus state and caucus results are very much unpredictable makes the contest even more exciting. Moreover, independents are also allowed to vote here. There race is so evenly poised that any one of the four hopefuls can win the state.
PPP poll for Colorado indicates a solid victory for Romney with 40 percent votes while Santorum comes in second place with 26 percent of votes. Gingrich gets 18 and Paul 12 percent.
If the poll projections come true, the Republican presidential hopefuls' race will again turn volatile, with all the four candidates in the fray flirting with their chances again. If Santorum retains his surge in Minnesota and bags a strong second in Colorado, then he will for sure emerge as the anti-Romney candidate replacement for Gingrich.
On his part, Romney, by retaining his lead in Colorado and winning Minnesota, will consolidate his position as the top favourite for the GOP nomination.
Paul, who finished third in Nevada, also has his chances of reviving the campaign in Minnesota. In both the caucus states that went to the polls so far, Paul improved his actual vote share over what was projected in the trial polls. In Minnesota which permits independents to vote, Paul can make an impact as independents are keen to support him more than any other candidate.
For Gingrich, the PPP polls predictions for both Minnesota and Colorado do not look great. The PPP, in its poll analysis, points out that Gingrich is not favored by majority of the Republicans in both the states. According to the PPP forecast, Gingrich is also losing his support among the Tea Party base.
The absence of a clear preference among Republican voters for a single candidate is very much evident in the polls so far. According to trial polls, Romney is leading nationally and in majority of the states, but the situation remains volatile with the possibility of last minute surprises in the elections.
By all indications, the Republican poll scenario in Minnesota and Colorado will be as volatile as it can be.