Rick Santorum’s national lead over Mitt Romney has ballooned 10 percentage points, even as Romney maintained his reputation as the most likely Republican candidate to beat President Barack Obama, two new surveys show.

In Gallup’s daily tracking rolling average, taken Feb. 15-19, Santorum leads Romney 36 percent to 26 percent, Santorum’s largest lead ever.

Meanwhile, fellow candidates Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul remain well behind in the national tracking poll of registered Republican voters at 13 percent and 11 percent, respectively.

Last week, Santorum had risen to within 2 points of Romney, with 30 percent to the former Massachusetts governor’s 32 percent.

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