Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney finished a two-day Southern foray amid signs he could benefit from a vote split between rivals Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich in next week’s Alabama and Mississippi primaries.

An American Research Group poll released today showed Gingrich leading in Mississippi among likely primary voters, with 35 percent, followed by Romney at 31 percent. Santorum had 20 percent and U.S. Representative Ron Paul of Texas 7 percent.