Reporting Tim Kephart
Legislative Session Coverage
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Mitt Romney has been the presumptive Republican presidential nominee for the past week, but some new polls show there may be another Gingrich-surge waiting to impact the race ahead of the upcoming Florida GOP primary.
The last two polls conducted through Tuesday night have shown that Newt Gingrich is between three and seven points behind Romney in national polling.
Rasmussen conducted a snap poll overnight Tuesday and found the split between Romney and Gingrich was just three percent, or a statistical tie based on a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
In the Rasmussen poll, Romney led the way with 30 percent of support from Republicans. Gingrich was second at 27 percent, Rick Santorum was third with 15 percent, and Ron Paul was fourth with 14 percent.
A CBS News/New York Times poll conducted over the last week, found Romney was leading Gingrich 28 percent to 21 percent nationally.
Rick Santorum came in third in the CBS poll with 16 percent; Ron Paul was fourth with 15 percent. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 5 percent.
While the Rasmussen and CBS News polls could be outliers; Gingrich’s performance in the most recent Fox News debate in South Carolina could be bolstering his overall image.
If the two new polls do signify a shift in the GOP race, Gingrich could do himself a big favor by winning the South Carolina primary.
The new polls could also put a tough question before Gingrich and Santorum. They are essentially splitting the conservative Republican vote.
Conservatives have long sought anyone but Romney. But, the only way either can beat Romney is for one of them to give up and fully support the other.
So far, Gingrich has been unwilling to support Santorum, and vice-versa.
But, if either Santorum or Gingrich can pull out a victory in South Carolina and stop the momentum of Romney heading into Florida; the other candidate may be forced to support the other.