Newt Gingrich leads Mitt Romney by a stunning 21 percentage points in the latest national poll by Rasmussen Reports.
More than 38 percent of likely Republican voters told the pollsters they’d vote for Gingrich, with 17 percent supporting Romney. Herman Cain and Ron Paul each got 8 percent, with the remaining candidates — Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Jon Huntsman, and Rick Santorum — all at 4 percent.
It’s a big jump up for the former speaker of the House, who was considered an also-ran just six months ago. And it’s the largest lead that any of the Republican candidates have commanded in the race for the Republican nomination.
“I’m going to be the nominee,” a confident Gingrich told ABC News Thursday.
“The question is whether or not Gingrich can handle the front-runner’s spotlight more successfully than the others,” said Scott Rasmussen, noting that Michele Bachmann, Perry, and Cain all enjoyed surges of support in polls in the last few months, but then dropped back.
Gingrich, many have noted, has the advantage of experience in dealing with political and media attacks as the most controversial speaker of the House in recent decades.
“I don’t object if people want to attack me,” Gingrich said. “That’s their right. All I’m suggesting is that it’s not going to be very effective and that people are going to get sick of it very fast.”
Gingrich is also leading in recent polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Florida. The Iowa caucuses take place Jan. 3, with the first-in-the-nation primary in New Hampshire on Jan. 10.
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