Newt Gingrich leads the GOP field in Florida but Mitt Romney is close behind, according to the latest Public Policy Polling survey.
Gingrich took 38 percent of support, followed by Romney at 33 percent, Rick Santorum at 13 percent and Ron Paul at 10 percent.
The poll was conducted between Jan. 22-23 and has a margin of error of 3.2 percent.
On Monday night the candidates battled in the first Florida debate, with Romney going hard after Gingrich, calling him an “influence-peddler” for his ties to Freddie Mac.
Romney held a double-digit lead over Gingrich in the same poll only one week ago, but it’s been a busy week — after a couple of fiery debate performances, Gingrich won Saturday’s South Carolina primary in convincing fashion.
Still, it’s estimated that over 230,000 ballots have already been cast in Florida, which allows for early voting, and Romney leads among those who have already voted, 43 percent to 40.
The Paul campaign is not expected to focus on Florida, where the winner will take all of the delegates; instead, the congressman is electing to focus on caucus-style states where delegates are awarded proportionately.
Florida is an expensive media market and requires big dollars and a strong campaign infrastructure, which makes it difficult for a second-tier candidate like Santorum to build momentum.
On Monday, the Las Vegas Sun reported that a super-PAC that supports Gingrich would receive $5 million from Dr. Miriam Adelson, the wife of billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, which could go a long way to keeping Gingrich competitive in the Sunshine State.