Just four days before the nation's first big-state presidential primary,former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney opens up a 38 – 29 percent lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among Republican likely voters in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University poll taken Wednesday and released today. Only 6 percent are undecided, but 32 percent say they might change their mind by Tuesday.
This compares to results of a January 25 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, showing Romney with 36 percent of likely primary voters to Gingrich's 34 percent. Wednesday's survey showed Gingrich ahead 40 – 34 percent among voters surveyed after the South Carolina primary.
In today's survey, men back Romney 36 – 29 percent, a shift from January 25, when men backed Gingrich 37 – 33 percent. Romney leads 40 – 30 percent among women, virtually unchanged.
Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul has 14 percent of likely primary voters today, with 12 percent for former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
Romney gets a 61 – 28 percent favorability rating from likely primary voters, compared to 50 – 38 percent favorable for Gingrich, 53 – 19 percent favorable for Santorum and a negative 35 – 42 percent for Paul.
"Speaker Newt Gingrich's momentum from his South Carolina victory appears to have stalled and Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be pulling away in Florida," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Romney also has a better favorability rating from likely primary voters, which supports his lead in the horse race. Of course, with four days before Election Day, there is time for another reversal. Three in 10 voters say they might change their mind."
"With the debates now over, Gingrich will need some other way to reverse the tide that appears to be going against him," Brown added.
From January 24 – 26, Quinnipiac University surveyed 580 Republican likely primary voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and the nation as a public service and for research.