Newt Gingrich has pulled within easy striking distance of Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney in the race for the GOP nomination, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll
The poll of 1,000 likely GOP primary voters nationwide on Tuesday, the day after Gingrich delivered a highly praised debate performance, shows Romney with 30 percent support and Gingrich closing at 27 percent. Given the margin of error, plus or minus 3 percent, the two candidates are virtually even.
Former House Speaker Gingrich jumped 11 points from the 16 percent support he had just two weeks ago. Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney’s support, on the other hand, remains at about the same level. Rasmussen pollsters said the debate Monday night seems to have made the difference.
Rick Santorum, on the other hand, has seen a big drop in support. The former Pennsylvania senator was in second place two weeks ago but now has dipped to 15 percent support.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 13 percent, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry was last at 4 percent.
Four percent said they liked some other candidate, and 7 percent were undecided.
About 70 percent said they think Romney ultimately will get the nomination, compared with just 13 percent who think Gingrich will be the party’s choice.
Although 43 percent think Romney has the best shot of beating President Barack Obama, 29 percent now say Gingrich is the most likely GOP candidate to do so. That is a 12 percent rise for Gingrich since two weeks ago.
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