Polls show Gingrich overtaking Romney in South Carolina

Gingrich took 33 percent of the support in the latest American Research Group poll, followed by Romney at 32 percent, Ron Paul at 19 percent, Rick Santorum at 9 percent and Rick Perry at 4 percent.

Perry dropped out of the race Thursday and endorsed Gingrich, calling him a “conservative visionary."

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Romney led Gingrich 29 percent to 25 in the same poll one week ago. Gingrich’s support in Thursday’s poll matches his high from his short-lived spike in late November.

And an Insider Advantage poll, which is run by a former Gingrich political operative, finds similar results to ARG.

Gingrich leads that poll in South Carolina with 32 percent, followed by Romney at 29 percent. Romney led the same poll less than a week ago, 32 percent to 21 percent, over Gingrich.

The Gingrich campaign has been furiously trying to derail Romney before Saturday’s South Carolina primary, which Gingrich has called the “last chance” to stop a Romney nomination.

Gingrich has gone so far as to call on rival Santorum to drop out of the race. Many believe Gingrich and Santorum are splitting the votes among those looking for a conservative alternative to Romney.

It’s been a tumultuous 24 hours in the Republican race.

A recount in the Iowa caucuses showed that Santorum took first place in the Hawkeye State, not Romney, as was previously reported.

ABC News reported Wednesday that Romney has millions of dollars in offshore accounts set up in the Cayman Islands, but that story failed to gain traction after a report surfaced that ABC had an explosive interview with Gingrich’s ex-wife, Marianne.

On Thursday, a clip from that interview surfaced in which Marianne claims the former House Speaker wanted an “open marriage.”

The candidates will have the opportunity to respond to all of these breaking events on Thursday night at the final debate before the South Carolina primary.