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Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times poll: Mitt Romney by 11% over Newt Gingrich

Newt Gingrich swaggered into Florida as a Republican front-runner, but now he’s close to slipping out as an also-ran against a resurgent Mitt Romney.

Gingrich is badly trailing Romney by 11 percentage points, garnering just 31 percent of likely Republican voters heading into Tuesday’s presidential primary, according to a Miami Herald/El Nuevo Herald/Tampa Bay Times poll released late Saturday night.

President Barack Obama should be wary as well. Romney beats Obama by a 48-44 percent spread — a lead inside the error-margin, however — in a theoretical general-election matchup, the poll shows.

In the Republican primary, Romney’s lead looks insurmountable. It cuts across geographic, ethnic and gender lines. And the poll indicates Romney’s attack on Gingrich as a Freddie Mac insider is a hit with GOP voters.

“What does Gingrich need to do? I would say Romney would need to implode,” said Brad Coker, pollster with Mason Dixon Research & Associates, which conducted the survey from Tuesday through Thursday.

“If there’s no 11th hour surprise,” Coker said, “this race is looking right now like it’s over.”

Late Saturday, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich, but it's unclear how that could help Gingrich make up such a big deficit.

Rick Santorum and Ron Paul — who did not campaign in Florida — are running well behind and have little chance of pulling into serious contention in the nation’s largest swing state, which holds 50 of the 1,144 delegates needed to help secure the GOP’s nomination at this summer’s convention in Tampa.

Late Saturday, former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain endorsed Newt Gingrich, but it's unclear how that could help Gingrich make up such a big deficit.

Romney is running strongest in Southeast Florida, from the Keys to the Treasure Coast. About half of all voters favor him here. Gingrich gets about a quarter of the vote. Similarly, 52 percent of Hispanic voters favor Romney, compared to just 28 percent who support Gingrich.

Full story here


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/01/28/2613266/poll-romney-holds-big-lead-over.html#storylink=cpy

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