Field Poll: Santorum support grows in California, but Republican love declines

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Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum speaks during a Tea Party rally February 18, 2012 in Columbus, Ohio.

A new poll says Rick Santorum is gaining on Mitt Romney here in California. However, that same survey also uncovered voter dissatisfaction with all the candidates.

The new Field Poll of registered Republicans still puts Romney in front, with 31 percent. But Santorum is right behind him with 25 percent — and that’s a huge gain for Santorum.

"In each of three prior Field Polls measuring California GOP presidential preferences, support for [...] Rick Santorum amounted to just one or two percentage points," said Field in the report. "However, over the past two weeks the proportion of GOP voters in this state favoring Santorum has been increasing dramatically."

That's the same amount of time Santorum has been using to rack up victories in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.

That said, Santorum's sudden surge is not indicative of how California Republicans feel about their candidates.

Last September, two-thirds said they were satisfied with the GOP field. But times have changed, and now only 57 percent claim to like the choices out there.

Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo called the decline "unusual," explaining that for the most part people warm up to candidates over time.

"As they learn more about the candidates, they're seeing they're not as strong as they thought they might have been," DiCamillo told the Mercury News.

California’s primary is June 5.

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