Reporting Tim Kephart
MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Jon Huntsman made his way through South Florida Thursday looking to round up support; but he’s got a long way to go to catch up to Mitt Romney in the state of Florida, according to a new poll released Thursday.
The poll of Republican presidential contenders, conducted by Public Policy Polling, showed that in the Sunshine State, Romney had a commanding lead over his closest competition. PPP typically handles polling for Democrats.
Romney had 27 percent of the voters surveyed and was 10 points ahead of Sarah Palin and 17 points ahead of Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann. According to PPP, Romney leads in Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and New Hampshire.
PPP found that Bachmann gained 10 points since March and lead the field amongst “very conservative” voters. Romney has a commanding lead for moderates and with voters who identify themselves as “somewhat conservative,” according to the poll.
But as impressive as the gains that Romney and Bachmann have made, the biggest loser in the latest poll is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. In PPP’s last poll, he was tied with Romney, but since then his campaign has been in free-fall.
He’s lost his senior staff and other key members of his team. And after making controversial comments in recent weeks, his support has been cut in half in Florida.
Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty checks in with 4 percent of the vote and the aforementioned Huntsman draws just 2 percent of the vote. Political newcomer Herman Cain was fourth in the poll with support from 8 percent of Republicans.
PPP ran the numbers if Sarah Palin is taken out of the equation and found that Romney would lose some overall support, but would still lead. In a Palin-less field, Romney has 29 percent, Bachmann is second with 22 percent, and Cain is third with 14 percent.