Poll: Romney opens up lead in Florida
January 27th, 2012
09:05 AM ET
11 years ago

Poll: Romney opens up lead in Florida

Jacksonville, Florida (CNN) - With four days to go before the Sunshine State's primary, a new poll indicates Mitt Romney has opened up a nine point lead over Newt Gingrich.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Friday morning, 38% of likely Florida Republican primary voters say they are backing the former Massachusetts governor for their party's presidential nomination, with 29% supporting the former House speaker.

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The poll indicates 14% are backing Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, with 12% supporting former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.

Six percent say they are undecided, but another 32% say they could change their minds by Tuesday's winner-take-all primary, where 50 delegates (the biggest haul so far) are up for grabs.

The poll was conducted Tuesday through Thursday, entirely before Thursday night's explosive CNN/Republican Party of Florida Debate here on the campus of the University of North Florida in Jacksonville.

It suggests that Gingrich's big momentum coming out of his double-digit victory in Saturday's South Carolina primary may be fading. Gingrich had a 40%-34% advantage over Romney in the Sunday and Monday portion of a Quinnipiac Florida survey released earlier in the week.

"Speaker Newt Gingrich's momentum from his South Carolina victory appears to have stalled and Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be pulling away in Florida," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "Romney also has a better favorability rating from likely primary voters, which supports his lead in the horse race. Of course, with four days before Election Day, there is time for another reversal. Three in 10 voters say they might change their mind."

The poll indicates men back Romney 36% – 29% percent, a shift from the previous poll, when men backed Gingrich 37% – 33% percent. Romney leads by ten points percent among women, virtually unchanged.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted January 24-26, with 580 likely Republican primary voters in Florida questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

- Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PSteinhauserCNN

Also see:

Analysis: When disclosure is so simple it's complicated

Romney campaign will amend disclosure forms

Jeb bush offers no endorsement, but a warning

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Polls
soundoff (82 Responses)
  1. Peace

    To: Romney supporters, Do you really trust this man??? Myself I like him as a human being but according to different stands he has taken, I get difficulties to trust him as a true/trustworthy leader of the free world!

    January 27, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  2. I can see Russia from my house

    All this proves is how people treat presidential elections – like reality TV shows. Winner changes every week.

    January 27, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  3. kathy

    I am sick, sick, sick of the fighting between the front runners! I will still vote Republican because I am even sicker of Obama and the things that he hasn't done, but it is time for SOMEBODY to talk about the important issues ! Santorum is sounding like he could wind up being the sleeper that could win!

    January 27, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  4. James T. Sailors

    Romney seemed to be acting in Thursdays debate, and hiring a debating coach seems to support that. But on the world stage, acting will not solve problems. The only viable candidate that proved he can solve problems at the national level is Newt Gingrich. Thursdays debate was contaminated by Blitzers taunting of Newt. Obama will beat Romney, cause Romney is not a fighter, is weak, and if we wanted an actor who made good speeches we could re-elect Obaoma. Why do you think the Dems want Romney? Cause he appears weak, and they believe that Obama can beat him. And the news is falling right into it.

    January 27, 2012 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. Phil in KC

    This thing seems to go up and down like a yo-yo. One minute Mitt is leading by several points, then it's a virtual tie, then he's leading by 9 points. Repubs in FL need to make up their mind. Of course, this is one of the problems with a winner-take-all primary. The will of the people is not accurately reflected. Delegates should be split according to the number of votes they receive.

    January 27, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Why on earth would a state full of middle-class retirees back the King of Tax Evasion and off-shore bank accounts? Paying almost nothing in taxes for investors in the U.S. may be legal, but look who that hurts directly and in a bad way – the middle-class homeowners who lost their dwelling places due to super risky Fannie Mae investors like Newt and Mitt. Are Floridians actually that dumb or do they not care. Come on Florida, speak up and post it here. Why do you support these super rich liars and decievers? If you are from Florida and against Mute and Newt, please say so here.

    January 27, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  7. ditty1991

    when will seniors realize ron paul is the only one who will protect your social security. he will also give people 25 and younger the option to opt out of social security.

    January 27, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  8. Cade

    Go Mitt!!!

    January 27, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. GOP is lost

    Donald Trump said that if the republicans nominate the wrong canidate, he would run as an Independent.

    That would be so entertaining...so heres hoping they nominate the wrong guy...or at least the wrong guy in The Donald's opinion.

    As a kid, I always wanted to run away and join the circus. I'm 52 years old now...time is running out to fulfill this dream. So I did the next best thing. I registered as a republican.

    January 27, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. RomneyIsAFlipFlopper

    The Romney attack machine strikes again ... it eliminated Cain and Bachmann and is now going after Newt. Romney will say and do anything to win.

    January 27, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  11. validate

    having newt as president would be like having "the joker" from batman...and i kinda dig that in a perverse, totally irrational way...every day would be like going to the movies ! vote for newt !!!!

    January 27, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  12. Boguslavsky

    Big winner last night: Rick Santorum. Complete class act. Newt hasn't been the great debater he normally is in the last two debates, and Romney is just plain cheesy. He comes across as determined to win no matter what damage he does to the party. Not the candidate I'm looking for. If Mitt is going to win the backing of the Conservative base of the Republican Party, he'll need to overhaul his entire campaign. Move further to the right. I'd love to see Rick deliver a major upset occur in Florida and put the two front-runners back in their place. I've been a Newt supporter up to this point, but am quickly souring on all the rhetoric between himself and Romney.

    January 27, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. gimmesometruth

    The wonders of Money and Money vested interests. The country club Republics are very confident – and deluded. Newt may fade – he is up against powerful interests. The country is not going to elect Romney and that will be a big win for Obama. Sorry, but face the facts. One can put up a good fight and one may win or one can put up a weak (Romney) candidate and lose the battle of the canned speeches. Gingrich is by far the most qualified candidate in terms of experience. Romney is very weak, less qualified than Obama – no sorry but being a business man at Bain is not the good experience for being leader fo the country, truth be told. Objectively speaking, Obama is more qualified than Romney. Sorry, I know the truth hurts.

    January 27, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. vic , nashville ,tn

    Romney campaign aired 85 ads, big organization still struggling
    All the debates when truth came out Romney will say “we learn about this”

    January 27, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. Strike Four - Your Out

    If one of these guys makes it to the white house,
    should we play "hail to the thief" ?

    January 27, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. Miguel White

    Yeah the establishment republican machine is lining up against Gingrich. The thought that someone who can think and might shake up their power base is a real threat to them. They want the northeastern rich, big money candidate who is trying to build an empire.

    Guaranteed if Romney gets the nod, Obama will be re-elected. I can't wait for the question about "how much is a gallon of milk?" to Romney, who will likely flub it, and then he will be portrayed as part of the 1% – out of touch with the people, rich white guy republican.

    The rest of the campaign will focus on that, and whatever dirt they find on his clean white linens. Then his image will slowly be chipped away until the independents move to Obama and then the game is over for him.

    Romney is a perpetual candidate – like his daddy was, I do not trust the guy and beleive if he was elected we would only get more of the same policies we have had, nothing would change.

    January 27, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. Just Me

    Bummer. I really am looking forward to Gingrich winning in Florida. Come on people vote for Ginrich. Make November a shoe in for President Oboma.

    Anyway, no matter who wins this circus, President Oboma is going to squash them like a rotten tomoto come Nobember.

    January 27, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Obamavoter

    None of these four guys have what it takes to lead our country.

    January 27, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  19. RealPolitics

    After last night's debate gingrich needs to get under Santorum's umbrella so we can have unified conservative vote so this flip-flopper whose only message is to spread his ego across america. He wants the presidency for one thing to use it as a mantle to pursuade people that the Mormon Church is the true church. Sorry but the Declaration of the Independence was written based of the Bible not the Book of Mormon. I wonder if he becomes President before he is sworn into office will he have to call Prophet Monson to check and see if the Bible that will be used in translated correctly?

    January 27, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Newt spells nothing but DISASTER for the GOP with relatively no chance of winning against Obama, sinking not just himself but the entire GOP flotilla. He is a self seeker, making grandiose dishonest promises on issues closest to the states ,electrorate, by PLAYING ON THEIR PSYCHE. Looks like the GOP machinery is already in action to stop him in his tracks!

    January 27, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. v_mag

    The Repugnant Establishment is dragging people kicking and screaming back to their anointed successor to George Bush. In November, it will be Obama against Virtual Bush, just like it was in 2008, and that can only be an easy choice for American voters. Rom-money has not given us any reason to believe he will be different from Bush, and that is the last thing this country needs.

    January 27, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  22. Dont Take The Brown Acid

    Is the clown car empty yet,
    or the Koch Brothers on the other side shoving more candidates into it ?
    They must be getting desperate.

    January 27, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  23. KC

    I would like all the politicians–of every party– who served with Newt Gingrich to let us know what they think about his ability to serve as POTUS.

    January 27, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  24. KMW

    This has certainly been an interesting campaign. I know I am in the minority on this board, but I would love to see Rick Santorum get the nomination. I thought he did great last night and I agree with most of his positions.

    I was disappointed with both Gingrich's and Romney's response to the fellow who asked about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. They said nothing about the plight of the poor Palestinians whose land has been taken away from them. This was certainly one sided and I did not like them taking the Israeli point of view. We must consider BOTH sides; and until we do, there will not be peace.

    It was also very surprising that Wolf Blitzer did not ask Ron Paul the same question. I am sure it was noticed by others. I also would not mind if Ron Paul got the nomination. Go Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. You both have my vote!

    January 27, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. michael

    after so many debates, you would think that GOP voters would know who they want. Its pretty pathetic that about 32% in Florida could still change their mind. shows they make their decision on sound bites and commercials instead of doing the leg work up front

    January 27, 2012 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
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