New poll: Romney holds slim lead in Florida

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Newt Gingrich’s post-South Carolina bounce may have already gone the way of dinosaurs. According to a CNN/ORC/TIME poll released Wednesday, Gingrich and Mitt Romney are in a statistical tie in the Sunshine State.

The poll found 36 percent of Florida voters saying they would support Romney, while 34 percent said they would support Gingrich.

Gingrich arrived in Florida this weekend with the wind at his back, coming off a double-digit victory in the South Carolina primary on Saturday. In the days following, polls showed Gingrich up 5 to 9 points on Romney. But that rise seems to be slowing, and this poll, as well as a poll conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, found the two candidates in a tie.

That doesn’t mean things look all that great for Romney, who had a 15- to 26-point lead in Florida – depending on the polls – coming out of New Hampshire. But the Florida contest is winner take all for delegates, so the two percent lead Romney sports in this poll would still be enough to take all of Florida’s 50 delegates.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Tuesday. Looking at the data from each day individually, Gingrich led Romney on Sunday, the day after his South Carolina win, 38 percent to 36 percent. But data from Monday and Tuesday had Romney back in the lead, 38 percent to 29 percent for Gingrich.

Rick Santorum is at 11 percent in the poll, and Ron Paul is at 9 percent. Paul is not contesting the state, opting instead to play in caucus states, where the price per vote is a little less steep.

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Alexis Levinson