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Romney Favored to Win Nevada Caucuses

February 4, 2012

Voting is under way in the western U.S. state of Nevada's Republican presidential caucuses, with members of the party choosing the candidate they want to see take on President Barack Obama in November.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney appears headed for a huge victory in Saturday's caucuses after a commanding win in the Florida primary.

Opinion polls showed Romney with a wide lead over former House of Representatives speaker Newt Gingrich, with former senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Texas Congressman Ron Paul trailing far behind.

Romney is expected to get a boost in Nevada from fellow followers of the Mormon religion. He won Nevada the first time he ran for the Republican nomination in 2008. Then, Mormons made up about a quarter of Nevada Republican caucus voters, and 95 percent of them backed Romney.

Nevada is number five of eight presidential nominating contests taking place ahead of so-called "Super Tuesday" on March 6, when 10 states will hold their contests. Nevada is the first western state to hold a contest.

In addition to Florida, Romney also won the New Hampshire primary, while Gingrich won in South Carolina and Santorum had the most votes in the first contest in Iowa.

Romney and Santorum were campaigning in Colorado Saturday, while Paul focused on Minnesota. Both states hold their presidential caucuses on Tuesday.

Under Florida state Republican rules, Romney picked up all 50 of the delegates Florida is allocated at the national convention. To win the presidential nomination, a candidate needs 1,144 of 2,286 delegate votes at the convention.

More than 200 delegates will be decided over the few weeks, while 437 delegates are up for grabs next month on "Super Tuesday."

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