The Washington Times - March 9, 2012, 11:49AM

A new poll out shows the GOP presidential race is basically a three-man tie heading into Alabama’s primary on Tuesday.

In a telephone survey of 750 likely Republican primary voters in the state, Rasmussen Reports found that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich received 30 percent of the support, running slightly ahead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 29 percent, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 28 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul brings up the rear with 7 percent.

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Alabama and Mississippi, which also holds its primary Tuesday, are widely viewed as must-win states for Mr. Gingrich, who is looking to build on the momentum in the South that he’s carrying from his win in Georgia, a state he represented for 20 years in Congress. Mr. Santorum also is trying to add to his delegate count in the South, where he is battling it out with Mr. Gingrich to become the conservative alternative to Mr. Romney — with his supporters even strongly suggesting that the ex-speaker should drop out of the race.

The Alabama Education Association poll released Wednesday that showed 500 likely voters giving Mr. Romney a 10-point lead over Mr. Gingrich and a 9-point lead over Mr. Santorum. The poll, though, was taken over a six-day period that started before and ended after Super Tuesday, where Mr. Romney emerged victorious in six states, Mr. Santorum won three and Mr. Gingrich captured the Georgia primary.