PPP: Gingrich Takes The Lead In South Carolina

Saturday's South Carolina GOP presidential primary is now officially all over the place. Here's the latest from Public Policy Polling (PPP):

Newt Gingrich led Mitt Romney 34-28 in PPP's South Carolina polling last night, the first of what will be three nights of tracking.  Ron Paul at 15%, Rick Santorum at 14%, Rick Perry at 5%, and Buddy Roemer at 3% round out the field. 

This is not a case of Romney imploding.  His support has been pretty steady in the 28-30% range in our South Carolina polling so far. But Gingrich has risen from 23% to 34% over the last two weeks, benefiting from declining support for Santorum and also from undecided voters moving into his camp.

It's clear that the debate Monday night did a lot to help Gingrich's prospects in the state. 56% of voters say they watched it, and with those folks Gingrich's lead over Romney is 43-27. Romney still has a 29-22 advantage on Gingrich with those who didn't tune in.

Gingrich is clearly flying high. The big question now is whether ABC's interview with his ex-wife tonight will stifle all this momentum. For instance, will his strong support from evangelicals remain intact after they hear accusations that he wanted an 'open marriage?'


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published this page in In The News 2012-01-19 12:11:15 -0500
Analysis & Political Strategy