New polls show that Gingrich's momentum in the Sunshine State has slowed.


A new poll shows Mitt Romney regaining his lead over rival Newt Gingrich in Florida and better positioned to compete against President Obama in that key state in the general election. 

An InsiderAdvantage/Florida Times-Union poll of likely GOP voters released Wednesday night shows Romney with 40 percent support to Gingrich's 32.  

The poll mirrors other recent surveys showing that a Gingrich surge fueled by his victory in last Saturday's South Carolina GOP primary has cooled.

ADVERTISEMENT

A Time-CNN poll released Wednesday showed Romney and Gingrich in a statistical dead heat with Romney leading the former House Speaker 36 percent to 34, an edge within the survey's five-point margin of error.

Similarly, an American Research Group poll Wednesday showed that Romney was the choice of 41 percent of likely voters surveyed, with Gingrich trailing at 34 percent. A Quinnipiac University poll released the same day showed Romney leading, but by just two points.

Earlier this week, though, polls showed Gingrich having overtaken Romney in Florida. An InsiderAdvantage poll released Monday showed Gingrich leading Romney 34 to 26 percent, and a Public Policy Polling survey released on Tuesday showed him with a five-point lead over Romney, 38 to 33 percent.

Still, Gingrich's momentum ebbed after a debate Monday where Romney hit him hard for his ties to Freddie Mac, calling him an "influence-peddler." Romney has also launched multiple ads attacking Gingrich. Florida's expensive media market gives the Romney campaign, which holds an edge in fundraising, the advantage. Additionally, a quarter-million absentee ballots have already been cast, many when Romney enjoyed double-digit leads in state polls.

The two are well ahead of the rest of the GOP pack, with Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) following at 9 percent and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum with 8.

Wednesday, Santorum indicated that he could skip campaigning in Florida ahead of the Tuesday primary to focus on other states. Rep. Paul has devoted minimal resources to the Sunshine State, instead focusing his efforts on next Saturday's Nevada GOP caucuses.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Friday shows Romney running even with Obama in the key swing state, at 45 percent apiece, and better positioned than Gingrich to compete against the president in the general election.

Gingrich trails Obama among Florida voters, 50 percent to 39.

Among independents, Romney would fare better than Gingrich against Obama. Romney has the support of 42 percent of independent voters to Obama's 41. But the president has a large, 50 to 33 percent, edge over Gingrich with that group.

"At least in Florida and at least at this point in the campaign, the data indicates that Gov. Mitt Romney is clearly the stronger Republican candidate against President Barack Obama," said Quinnipiac University Polling Institute Assistant Director Peter A. Brown in a statement.

"Speaker Newt Gingrich's initial impression on the overall Florida electorate is not a positive one," he said.

Florida voters said Romney would do a better jon on the economy than Obama by 50 percent to 41 percent. Between Obama and Gingrich, 47 percent backed the president's handling of economic issues to 45 percent for Gingrich.

Obama and Romney were statistically tied on the question of who is a stronger leader, with Obama at 46 percent to Romney's 45. But Obama tops Gingrich, 51 percent to 41, in that category.

The InsiderAdvantage poll was conducted on Jan. 25 and has a four-point margin of error.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted from Jan. 19 to 23 and has a 2.5 percent margin of error.