The huge rapid swings taking place in the Republican primary this year are truly crazy. Only a week ago Newt Gingrich’s overall level of support shot up by double digits nationally in the states with upcoming primaries, South Carolina and Florida. This surge allowed Gingrich to win a significant victory in South Carolina and gave him a big lead in the polling in Florida.
Yet in just a few days there are now signs that the momentum may have swung quite sharply against Gingrich. Three new polls out today now give Mitt Romney a 7-8 point lead in Florida.
From Monmouth University:
In what has been a topsy-turvy campaign, Mitt Romney currently holds a 7 point lead over Newt Gingrich among likely Republican primary voters in Florida according to the Monmouth University Poll. The former Massachusetts governor registers 39% support while the former House Speaker has 32%. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (11%) and Texas Congressman Ron Paul (8%) are well behind the top two contenders.
From InsiderAdvantage poll for Floridia Times-Union:
Someone else 1.5
No opinion 8.8
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Florida Republican Primary Voters, taken Wednesday night, shows Romney with 39% support to Gingrich’s 31%. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum earns 12%, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul runs last with nine percent (9%). Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here).
Four days ago, just after the South Carolina Primary, Gingrich led Romney 41% to 32%.
At this point it looks like Romney is now favored to win Florida on Tuesday but the race has been way too volatile in the last week to make any good predictions.
There is after all another GOP debate in Florida tonight. If the impact of the last few debates is any indication, this debate has the potential to send the momentum swinging wildly in a new direction before the 31st.
The one bright point for Gingrich today is that the Gallup’s daily tracking poll still has him surging on Romney nationally. It will be interesting to see if this national Gallup poll is just lagging slightly or if Gingrich’s troubles in Florida are primarily the result of the wave of campaign ads running in the state right now.