An American Research Group survey released Saturday and reported by CNN indicates that 40% of people likely to vote in South Carolina's GOP contest say they are backing the former House speaker, with 26% supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
In other findings: 18% are backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas and 13% support former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.
The poll, conducted half before and half after Thursday night's debate in Charleston, South Carolina was all good news for Gingrich:
• Gingrich gained seven points and Romney's dropped six points since their last survey, which was conducted Tuesday and Wednesday. At that time, Gingrich was at 33% and Romney at 32%.
• Gingrich leads Romney 47%-24% among self-identified Republicans, with Paul and Santorum each at 14%. Among independent voters and Democrats, Paul's at 33%, Romney 32%, Gingrich 18% and Santorum 10%.
• Gingrich captures about half the vote among tea party supporters. Among those who say they are not tea party supporters, Gingrich is at 33%, Romney 31%, Paul 22% and Santorum 11%.
• Gingrich leads Romney among men 38% to 25%, followed by Paul with 21% and Santorum at 13%. Among women, Gingrich leads Romney 42% to 26%, followed by Paul with 16%, and Santorum with 13%.
The American Research Group poll was conducted with 600 likely South Carolina GOP primary voters questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus four percentage points.
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