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Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign stop at an American Legion post in Arbutus, Md., Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

Gallup released results of a new national poll Friday revealing 40 percent of Republicans are now backing Mitt Romney — a new peak for Romney during either the 2008 or 2012 election cycles.

"Romney's support has increased to 40 percent, the first time a candidate has reached that level in this campaign, and his lead over Rick Santorum (currently polling at 26 percent) is back into double digits after narrowing to four percentage points on March 20."

These numbers support a point Nate Silver made Thursday in his post on the New York Times' FiveThirtyEight blog: Romney is now pulling away from Santorum.

"The Republican nomination race … has become less a battle between Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum and more one between Mr. Romney and the math: how certain is Mr. Romney to reach the 1,144 delegates required to clinch the nomination before the convention in Tampa, Fla., and when will he do it?"

Politico reported Friday that, unlike 2008, the Republican National Committee isn't waiting around for somebody to clinch the nomination before it starts actively strategizing in important swing states.

"The RNC is moving full speed ahead with its ground game in key battleground states — a marked departure from 2008, when it didn’t initiate its efforts in earnest until after John McCain was the likely nominee. This time around, the national party doesn’t want to make the same mistake it did four years ago when the RNC had been ready to launch but held off at the McCain campaign’s request. As a result, some 90 days that could have been spent building up field operations passed by and Republicans were never able to catch up effectively."