Newt Gingrich has nearly doubled his lead in Georgia in polls issued on the eve of the state’s primary — the biggest prize in the Republican presidential race’s Super Tuesday.
With just 24 hours to go before polls open in the state that Gingrich represented in the U.S. House for two decades, the former House speaker now enjoys a huge lead over nearest challenger Mitt Romney, a pair of surveys shows.
An InsiderAdvantage poll taken on Sunday gave Gingrich a 26 percentage-point-lead over Romney, while a second survey conducted by Public Policy Polling (PPP) during the weekend put the lead at 24 points.
“In Georgia, Gingrich is basically winning every group of the electorate. 66 percent of Republicans in the state have a favorable opinion of him to only 27 percent with a negative one,” PPP said in announcing its result.
The InsiderAdvantage poll showed Gingrich particularly strong among younger voters. Those under 30 gave him a massive 74-15 point lead over Romney. However, it also showed a large gender gap, with men preferring him by 56-20 over the former Massachusetts governor, while the figure was 38-22 among women — with both Rick Santorum and Ron Paul doing far better among females.
The website RealClearPolitics, which aggregates poll figures, on Monday put Gingrich’s lead over Romney at 41-23 in Georgia, with Santorum at 20 percent and Paul at 6 percent. Just a week ago, Gingrich’s lead was 32-25 over Santorum, with Romney in third place at 21 and Paul at 9.
The Peach State has a total of 76 delegates up for grabs — the most of any of the 10 states that vote on Tuesday. Last week, Gingrich acknowledged that he had to win the state if his candidacy is to remain credible.
“If I win Georgia, the following week we go to Alabama and Mississippi,” he told a breakfast meeting at the Cobb Chamber of Commerce. “I think we’ll win both of those and we have a good opportunity to win Kansas.”
Gingrich was born in Pennsylvania, but his family moved to Georgia when he was a child. He has lived in Virginia since stepping down from the House.
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