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Poll: Romney Regains Momentum in Florida Poll: Romney Regains Momentum in Florida

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CAMPAIGN 2012

Poll: Romney Regains Momentum in Florida

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney gestures during a GOP presidential debate on Monday at the University of South Florida in Tampa.(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Mitt Romney has retaken the lead in Florida, according to a CNN/Time/ORC poll released on Wednesday, which shows the former Massachusetts governor stopping the momentum Newt Gingrich carried following his blowout win in South Carolina last week.

Romney leads Gingrich among likely Republican primary voters in the poll, 36 percent to 34 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is third, with 11 percent. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is fourth, with 9 percent. Eleven percent are undecided or said they would not support any of the four candidates. The CNN/Time/ORC release also broke the poll out by interview date: Respondents queried on Sunday, the day after Gingrich's South Carolina victory, favored the former House Speaker by 6 percentage points. But in interviews conducted on Monday and Tuesday, Romney regained the lead, outpacing Gingrich by 9 points.

Since losing the South Carolina primary, Romney has been aggressively attacking Gingrich on his past work for Freddie Mac and his career spent in Washington. Romney's campaign, along with a super PAC backing Romney, has poured millions into the state on anti-Gingrich attack ads.

 

Romney's lead in the poll mirrors a Quinnipiac University poll released earlier on Wednesday. Some of the interviews in the Quinnipiac University poll were conducted prior to Gingrich's victory in South Carolina; in interviews conducted over the two days following Gingrich's victory, he led Romney by a 6-point margin. The CNN/Time/ORC poll consists only of interviews conducted Sunday through Tuesday, and includes one day of interviews after Monday night's NBC News/National Journal/Tampa Bay Times debate. The Quinnipiac poll was conducted entirely before the debate.

The latest poll shows Romney running relatively strong among the groups that were more resistant to him in South Carolina. He trails Gingrich by just 4 percentage points, 39 percent to 35 percent, among likely primary voters who say they support the tea party. Among evangelical or born-again Christian voters, Gingrich's lead over Romney is only 6 points, 35 percent to 29 percent. Gingrich won both groups by 20 percentage points or more in South Carolina, according to exit polls.

Nearly two-thirds of likely primary voters, 64 percent, say they definitely will vote for their candidate, while a quarter say they prefer one candidate but might change their mind—in addition to the 11 percent who did not make a choice.

 

The poll surveyed 369 likely voters in the Jan. 31 Florida Republican primary, for a margin of error of plus or minus 5.1 percentage points.

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