A surging Newt Gingrich has the momentum in a tight race with Mitt Romney in Florida, a poll of Republicans planning to vote in the state’s Jan. 31 presidential primary shows.


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Romney has 36 percent support while Gingrich is backed by 34 percent in the survey released today by Hamden, Connecticut- based Quinnipiac University.

The survey of 601 likely Republican primary voters conducted from Jan. 19-23 shows increased support for Gingrich following his 12 percentage point victory over of Romney in the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary. Gingrich led Romney by 6 points among voters polled after the South Carolina contest while Romney led by 11 points among voters surveyed before.

“Gingrich’s South Carolina victory clearly gives him a boost in Florida,” Peter A. Brown, the assistant director of the university’s polling institute, said in a news release accompaning the poll. “The question is whether there is more of that to come, or whether any bump from a previous victory will dissipate.”

Brown termed the Florida race “essentially a dead heat,” and said Romney and Gingrich are in a “two-man race” in the state, where the primary winner will receive all of the state’s 50 convention delegates. Former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, the winner of the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, has 13 percent in today’s poll and Texas U.S. Representative Ron Paul has 10 percent.


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