Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s surging popularity pushed him to the top of polls in two key states in the primary season: In Iowa, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll
puts him at 33 percent, with a double-digit lead over his closest rivals; in South Carolina, a fresh Winthrop University
tally gives him 38 percent, for another double-digit gap.
Gingrich’s closest rivals in Iowa, where caucuses start the primary season on Jan. 3, are former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who are tied at 18 percent.
Gingrich’s campaign, which many gave up for dead only a few months ago, has rebounded dramatically. His support in national polls has been steadily increasing, and a victory in Iowa would probably give him a boost in the next two states with elections: New Hampshire, where he has been closing in on Romney, and South Carolina, The Washington Post reported.
However, Iowa Republicans aren’t giving Gingrich the keys to the state. “More than six in 10 potential caucusgoers say they could change their minds, and even among the likeliest attendees, fewer than half say they have definitely chosen a candidate,” the Post reports.
Following Gingrich, Romney, and Paul in the Washington Post-ABC News poll are Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 11 percent; Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, 8 percent; former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, 7 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, 2 percent.
Just over half of likely caucusgoers say they could change their minds before the Jan. 3 caucuses, and about one-fourth say there’s a “good chance” they’ll switch their first preferences.
In South Carolina, Winthrop’s poll gives Gingrich 38 percent, with Romney at 22 percent.
Other candidates register only in the single digits in South Carolina: Perry with 9 percent; Herman Cain at 7 percent; Bachmann at 5; Paul at 4; Santorum at 3; and Huntsman at 1. It remains to be seen where Cain’s suspension of his campaign Saturday will send his South Carolina supporters.
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