FLORIDA LATEST – AT 8:01 A.M. ET: Wht is this, something new? Just as we were preparing for a Romney romp in Florida tomorrow, a new, very late poll from a firm with a solid history this year, says it is picking up a Gingrich surge. From Newsmax:
A new InsiderAdvantage poll conducted Sunday night of likely Republican voters in the state of Florida shows a significant surge for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
The poll has former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading with 36 percent of voters, followed by Gingrich at 31 percent.
The Sunday results of 646 likely GOP voters are as follows:
Romney 36 percent
Gingrich 31 percent
Santorum 12 percent
Paul 12 percent
Other/Undecided 9 percent
"The race will be tighter than expected," Matt Towery, chief pollster of InsiderAdvantage told Newsmax.
Towery noted that his poll showed a surge for Romney on Wednesday, with him leading Gingrich by 8 points. The InsiderAdvantage poll was among the first to show Romney's resurgence after his dismal showing in the S. Carolina primary.
The InsiderAdvantage poll was also the first to show Gingrich's rise in S. Carolina and accurately forecast his win there.
"The trend is favoring Gingrich," Towery said, noting that while Romney's lead was still outside the margin of error of 3.8 percent, "It's not by much."
Towery said Gingrich is doing "substantially better" with men than Romney, 38 to 28, but the former House Speaker still faces a "gender gap," as women are still favoring Romney.
"Men are moving in droves to Gingrich and away from Romney," Towery said.
As for Florida's important Latino vote, InsiderAdvantage has Gingrich beating Romney by a large margin, leading 42 percent to 29 percent.
COMMENT: We stress that this is a poll, a snapshot. Past accuracy is no guarantee that this survey will prove correct, but it certainly is intriguing. It's also part of the fun of politics.
We'll know tomorrow night. But if there's a last-minute Gingrich surge, and we note that Insider Advantage is the only poll that is reporting this, the post-primary thinking and commenting will be drastically different from what we'd come to expect. Romney had presumably put this one away.
This poll appears to be the latest one taken, which is why we even mention it. We saw a late Romney collapse in Sputh Carolina. If it happens again we could be in for a very long and politically bloody campaign.
January 30, 2012