The Ticket

Florida pollsters expect tight race between Gingrich and Romney

Chris Moody
The Ticket

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Gingrich and Romney (Eric Gay/AP)

As the As Republican presidential candidates begin campaigning in Florida before next Tuesday's primaries, two polling groups are anticipating tight race in the state between Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.

Results from InsiderAdvantage, a Republican polling firm run by a former Gingrich staffer, shows the former House Speaker leading by eight points in the Sunshine State, after weeks of polling behind Romney. The poll of 557 registered Republican voters showed Gingrich with 34 percent, and Romney with 26 percent. Ron Paul is in third with 13 percent with Santorum trailing with 11 percent.

"The poll shows a huge bounce for Newt Gingrich, coming out of  South Carolina," IA pollster Matt Towery told Newsmax Magazine.

Meanwhile, Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, says their first night of survey results show Gingrich and Romney "neck and neck," although the group has not yet released its official results.

"[Two] more people picked Mitt than Newt out of about 600 people we polled tonight," said PPP pollster Tom Jenson on Twitter. "That's how close we're talking."

On Monday, Rasmussen released a new poll showing Gingrich leading Romney by nine percentage points. The survey of 750 likely Republican voters taken Sunday night by telephone, shows 41 percent saying they will support Gingrich over 32 percent for Romney. The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points, suggests a major swing for Gingrich in just the past few weeks, when he trailed Romney by more than 20 percentage points in a Florida Rasmussen survey released on Jan. 12.

The candidates plan to face off twice this week in Florida, with debates on Monday and Thursday nights.

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