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California primary crucial to GOP selection?

February 10, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
California's primary on June 5 could play an important role in selecting the Republican nominee for president.

See full coverage of the 2012 presidential election on OTUS News, by ABC News

At the Pasadena Tea Party (TeaPAC) offices, Republican volunteers work toward the election. There's hope that this year's California's primary on June 5 will actually be crucial to picking the eventual republican presidential nominee. The race is extremely close between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum.

In California, only two points separate Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum according to an exclusive Eyewitness News poll of likely Republican voters conducted by Survey USA. In third place is Newt Gingrich, followed by Ron Paul.

Pasadena TeaPAC President Michael Alexander hopes the competitiveness will help bring out more voters in a now more important California primary.

"Because California counts so seldom, the political apparatus among conservatives has decayed into almost nothingness. Citizen participation is low," said Alexander.

That may change this year if the race remains close among Republican candidates. Romney leads among Republican women, pro-choice Republican voters, younger Republican voters and Republican moderates.

Santorum is ahead in the poll among Republican seniors, men, evangelicals, pro-life voters and Tea Party members.

"The real story is that Romney has had tremendous trouble breaking 50. Republicans have not found a conservative yet that they want to run," said Alexander.

In third place in the Survey is Newt Gingrich, who gets half as many votes as either Romney or Santorum. Paul gets half as many votes as Gingrich.

All candidates will come to California to raise money. Newt Gingrich will be here next week to do eight fundraisers in three days.

The next big contests in the presidential competition are Arizona and Michigan.

There are dozens of caucuses and primaries before California's primary. But it does look as if for the first time in a long time California will make a difference in picking nominee.

See full coverage of the 2012 presidential election on OTUS News, by ABC News