U.S. Republican presidential candidates made their last bid for support Monday, the day before 10 states hold “Super Tuesday” nominating contests that could be pivotal in the Republican race.
Rivals Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum campaigned for support in the closely watched midwestern state of Ohio, where the two are locked in a tight race.
A new Quinnipiac University survey shows Romney has gained momentum since last week and now has 34 percent of likely Republican primary voters in Ohio, three points ahead of Santorum. Santorum led in Ohio late last month.
“Super Tuesday” features a diverse set of states with 419 delegates at stake — roughly equal to the total number of delegates contested so far. A candidate needs 1,144 delegates to secure the Republican nomination.
Romney leads in the delegate count so far and hopes to continue his momentum from recent wins into Tuesday.
The contests will move Republicans closer to selecting their candidate to face President Barack Obama, a Democrat, in the November election.
Georgia, Massachusetts, Vermont, Virginia, Oklahoma and Tennessee are the other states that will hold primaries on Tuesday. There will be caucus meetings in Idaho, North Dakota and Alaska.
The other two Republican candidates, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, have won only one nominating contest between them. Gingrich campaigned Monday in Tennessee and is confident of a win in Georgia, the state he represented in Congress for two decades and where polls show he has a large lead.
Paul hopes to do well in Alaska, Idaho and North Dakota.
Romney is expected to do well in Massachusetts, where he served as governor from 2003 to 2007, and in the neighboring state of Vermont, as well as in Virginia, where only he and Paul are on the ballot.