Polls: Romney takes the lead in Florida but slips nationally

The latest Monmouth University poll shows Mitt Romney regaining momentum in Florida, while Gallup’s daily tracking poll shows him slipping nationally against Newt Gingrich.

Romney has a 7-point lead in Florida, according to Monmouth, taking 39 percent support among likely Republican primary voters. Newt Gingrich took 32 percent, followed by Rick Santorum at 11 percent and Ron Paul at 8 percent.

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A number of polls showed Gingrich surging in Florida after winning in South Carolina last week with 40 percent of the vote; however, this is the second poll released on Thursday to show Romney overtaking the former House Speaker.

According to an Insider Advantage-Florida Times Union poll released on Thursday, Romney leads Gingrich 40 percent to 32 percent in the Sunshine State.

Romney seemed to regain his momentum following Monday’s debate, in which he went after Gingrich for his ties to Freddie Mac, calling him an “influence peddler.”

“Governor Romney appears to be ahead for the moment, but we have seen voter preferences turn on a dime in this contest,” said Patrick Murray, the director of Monmouth University’s Polling Institute in a statement. “Debate performances and ad buys in Florida will determine whether he can solidify his lead or whether Speaker Gingrich can pull out another stunner.”

The next debate will be in Jacksonville on Thursday night.

The national picture however is shaping up differently.

Gingrich leads by 6 points, according to Gallup’s national daily tracking poll, with 31 percent compared to Romney’s 25 percent.

Earlier this week, Gingrich surpassed Romney nationally for the first time in a month. Romney had a 24-point national lead as recently as Jan. 14, but since then the trends for the two front-runners have reversed course.

Despite topping out at 31 percent, Gingrich has managed to stretch his lead over the last few days with Romney dropping 4 points this week.