Poll: Romney holding 15-point edge in Florida

Mitt Romney leads his next closest Republican rival by 15 points in Florida, according to a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey released late on Monday.

It’s the second poll in two days to show the former Massachusetts governor with a commanding lead in the Sunshine State. Romney has already won the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, and is the prohibitive favorite heading into the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

According to PPP, Romney is at 41 percent in Florida, followed by Newt Gingrich at 26 percent, Rick Santorum at 11 percent, Ron Paul at 10 percent and Rick Perry at 4 percent.

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However, unlike previous polls that showed an uncommitted electorate heading into caucuses and primaries, the PPP poll shows that a majority of voters in Florida have already settled on Romney.

Seventy-one percent of Romney supporters said they will definitely be voting for him in the Florida primary, compared to 61 percent for Gingrich. Romney also has his best favorability numbers in the Sunshine State, with 68 percent saying they view him favorably and only 24 percent unfavorably.

The Gingrich campaign has called Saturday’s South Carolina primary the “last chance” to stop a Romney nomination, and he will need a strong showing in the Palmetto State to reignite the support of some of the older Florida voters who buoyed him in the polls during his short-lived surge.

Florida is an expensive state to campaign in and will allot all of its delegates to the winner. Paul, who is not expected to contend there, will likely move on to Nevada, where the delegates are divided proportionately.

Florida is losing half of its delegates at the nominating convention, however, as punishment by the national party for moving up the date of its primary.