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Santorum leads among female California Republicans

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Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum holds a slight lead over former Michigan Gov. Mitt Romney among California Republican women, according to a Field Poll released Wednesday.

Santorum has the support of 29 percent of females, compared to Romney at 27, and a tie between U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich at 13.

Santorum also leads among voters who identify themselves as 50 years old or older, born-again Christians, Tea Party supporters and those who call themselves strongly conservative.

Overall, Romney has the support of 31 percent of California Republicans, while Santorum has 25, Paul 16 and Gingrich 12.

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

While Santorum's religious views appear to stun many, even California has a Bible Belt in its Central Valley and large numbers of evangelicals in Southern California.

"For these lame-stream media characters to get all wee-weed up about that, first you have to ask yourself, 'Have they ever attended a Sunday school class even? Have they never heard of this terminology before?" former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin asked Tuesday on Sean Hannity's TV show.

California Republicans do not go to the polls to vote for their favorite until June 5.

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