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.
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.