Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich holds a commanding lead over the rest of the pack of Republican presidential hopefuls in state and national polls unveiled on Wednesday.
A national poll from Farleigh Dickenson University released on Wednesday found that Gingrich, whose campaign had been written off by many pundits after a series of gaffes and staff defections, continues to maintain a large lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Gingrich pulls 36 percent, followed by former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts with 23 percent. Businessman Herman Cain -- who pulled out of the race on Saturday while the poll was being taken -- took third with 8 percent. Gov. Rick Perry of Texas stands in fourth with 6 percent, followed by two members of Congress -- Ron Paul of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota -- with 4 percent each. Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania takes 3 percent, followed by former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah with 2 percent.
The FDU poll of 545 registered Republicans and Republican-leaning voters was taken Nov. 29-Dec. 5 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
Gingrich also holds the lead in the latest Gallup Daily Tracking poll released on Wednesday that closely mirrored the FDU poll's results. Gingrich leads with 36 percent, followed by Romney in second with 23 percent. Paul takes third with 9 percent, followed by Perry and Bachmann who are locked together with 6 percent each. Santorum takes 3 percent, while Huntsman lags behind with 1 percent.
The Gallup poll of 1,227 Republicans and Republican-leaning voters was taken Dec. 2-6 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.
While Gingrich leads the pack in national polls, he also is ahead in three state polls taken by CNN/Time/ORC International of early primary and caucus states, though Romney continues to control New Hampshire.
With less than four weeks until Iowa Republicans caucus, Gingrich leads in the Hawkeye State with 33 percent. Romney places second with 20 percent, followed by Paul with 17 percent. Perry places fourth with 9 percent, followed by Bachmann, who won the Iowa Republican straw poll in Ames back in August, with 7 percent. Santorum takes 5 percent and Huntsman claims 1 percent. The survey of 419 likely Iowa GOP caucus-goers was taken Nov. 29-Dec. 6 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
Romney continues to lead in the Granite State, which will hold its primary on Jan. 10. Romney draws 35 percent there, followed by Gingrich with 26 percent and Paul with 17 percent. Huntsman places fourth with 8 percent, followed by Bachmann with 3 percent. Santorum and Perry lag with 2 percent each. The survey of 507 likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters was taken Nov. 29-Dec. 6 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
Gingrich, who is based in Georgia, is doing well in South Carolina, taking 43 percent of those surveyed. Romney places second with 20 percent in the Palmetto State, followed by Perry with 8 percent. Bachmann and Paul take 6 percent each, followed by Santorum with 4 percent and Huntsman trailing with 1 percent. The survey of 510 likely South Carolina Republican primary voters was taken Nov. 29-Dec. 6 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
Gingrich does best in another state that neighbors Georgia -- Florida, one of the largest prizes on the electoral map. The former congressional leader dominates the Sunshine State with 48 percent, while Romney is in second with 25 percent. Paul is a distant third with 5 percent, followed by three candidates -- Bachmann, Huntsman and Perry -- with 3 percent each and Santorum lagging with 1 percent. The survey of 446 likely Florida Republican primary voters was taken Nov. 29-Dec. 6 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
While Gingrich leads, the state polls found the Republican field remains fluid. Fifty-five percent of the Republicans surveyed in Iowa and South Carolina said they could change their votes. Fifty-three percent of the Florida Republicans surveyed said they are open to supporting other candidates, while 48 percent of the New Hampshire Republicans said they could swing behind another hopeful.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 727-0859.