A new Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey
of likely GOP presidential primary voters in Florida puts Newt Gingrich ahead of Mitt Romney in the Jan. 31 primary – 38 percent to 33 percent.
That gives former House Speaker Gingrich a sweep of the first three major polls to appear after his Saturday victory in the South Carolina primary. The poll has a 3.2 percentage point margin of error.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum took third place with 13 percent support, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who isn’t campaigning in Florida, placed last with 10 percent.
In an indication of the momentum he received from South Carolina, Gingrich gained 12 points since the last PPP poll in Florida a week ago. Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney lost 8 points. Paul and Santorum are little changed.
Beneath the headline numbers, both candidates can take away some good news from the poll. On Gingrich’s side, his supporters are more committed than Romney's. A total of 78 percent of his supporters say they'll definitely vote for him, compared to 73 percent for Romney. Also, among voters who aren’t completely certain of their decision, Gingrich leads Romney 45 percent to 36 percent.
As for Romney, he’s likely ahead in votes already. A total of 16 percent of respondents say they’ve already voted. And Romney leads among those voters by 43 percent to 40 percent. Romney also has a popularity advantage over Gingrich. Respondents give Romney a 61 percent favorability rating compared to 57 percent for Gingrich.
When it comes to the general election, the poll showed Gingrich with an interesting advantage. A total of 50 percent of respondents say they would enthusiastically support Gingrich in the race against President Barack Obama, while only 46 percent feel the same way about Romney. To be sure, 15 percent of primary voters say they wouldn’t vote for Gingrich in the general election, while only 9 percent say that about Romney.
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