ORLANDO, Fla. -- Newt Gingrich drew unprecedented crowds during a campaign swing in southwest Florida last week, but a new state-wide poll suggests that support for the former House Speaker is spread wide across the state.
Gingrich now leads the Republican presidential field in Florida with 41 percent of support from registered votes here, according to a poll released Wednesday by the Florida Times-Union and InsiderAdvantage. The poll, conducted on Tuesday with 513 registered voters, has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is Gingrich's closest competitor according to the poll, with 17 percent. Support for businessman Herman Cain, who won a major straw poll in the state two months ago but now faces yet another round of accusations of sexual imprpriety, has dropped to 13 percent. Support for Gingrich surged nationally after it was reported that Cain was accused of sexual harassment during his time as president of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
"I have not seen a lead this large, this late in a Republican presidential primary season since I have been polling," Matt Towery, CEO of InsiderAdvantage, told the Times-Union.
After speaking to standing-room only events in Florida, Gingrich spent this week in South Carolina, where he continues to draw large crowds.