Poll: Gingrich surges to lead in Florida primary

Fresh off his victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary, a new poll shows Newt Gingrich surging into the lead in the next Republican battleground, Florida.

An InsiderAdvantage poll released late Sunday shows the former House Speaker leading his main rival, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, in the Sunshine State with 34 percent support from likely GOP voters to Romney's 26.

Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) receives 13 percent support for third place in the poll, followed by former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 11 percent.

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The survey's results show a sharp rise for Gingrich. Last week, two polls showed Romney leading in the state by double digits.

A CNN/Time/ORC poll released Wednesday showed Romney at 43 percent, ahead of Santorum at 19 percent and Gingrich in third with 18 percent support. A Public Policy Poling (PPP) survey released last Monday showed Romney leading a second-place Gingrich by 15 points.

"The poll shows a huge bounce for Newt Gingrich, coming out of South Carolina," said Matt Towery, chief pollster for InsiderAdvantage.

Towery said the new Florida numbers reflect a Gingrich rise nationally. 

"Gingrich has been closing the gap nationally, according to the Gallup tracking poll; Florida is a reflection that Republicans nationally are moving toward Gingrich," he said.

Gingrich shook up the GOP race after his come-from-behind victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary. He was trailing in polls there by double digits a week ahead of the vote but managed to best Romney, the presumptive GOP front-runner, by 14 points, 41 percent to 27.

Florida, though, will prove to be a challenge for Gingrich, as he will need to spend heavily in a state with multiple, expensive media markets.

The Romney campaign, which is the only one running ads in the state, is also backed by a pro-Romney super-PAC, which will target Gingrich. 

Florida's primary will be held Jan. 31.

The InsiderAdvantage poll surveyed 557 registered Republican voters on Jan. 22 and has a four-point margin of error.