(CNN) – A new poll released one day after Rick Santorum suspended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination indicates that the former senator from Pennsylvania had lost his lead in his home state in advance of the April 24 primary.
According to an American Research Group survey released Wednesday, 44% of likely Pennsylvania GOP presidential primary voters said they were backing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the all but certain Republican nominee, with 40% supporting Santorum, 7% backing former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and 5% supporting Rep. Ron Paul of Texas. Romney's 4-point margin over Santorum was within the poll's sampling error.
Earlier this year Santorum had a double digit lead in most polls in Pennsylvania, but surveys released over the past couple of weeks indicated that his advantage was down to single digits, with one survey indicating it was all knotted up.
Santorum advisers said that winning Pennsylvania was crucial to the candidate continuing his bid for the nomination. They say winning the state remained possible, but that it would have required large amounts of money and time.
The American Research Group poll was conducted April 9 and 10, the day before and the day that Santorum announced the suspension of his campaign. The survey was conducted by telephone with 600 likely GOP primary voters in Pennsylvania questioned by telephone. The poll's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.