Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s victory in South Carolina continues to lift him nationwide, as a new Rasmussen Reports survey gives him a seven-point lead, 35-28 percent over Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential sweepstakes.
The two front-runners reversed spots from last week, when former Massachusetts Gov. Romney had 30 percent and former House Speaker Gingrich, 27 percent.
In the new national telephone survey of 1,000 likely GOP primary voters on Jan. 23, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum’s support is little changed at 16 percent, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul picks up 10 percent. Two percent prefer some other candidate in the race, while 9 percent are undecided.
Support for Gingrich has jumped a total of 19 points in two Rasmussen surveys since early January, while Romney’s support has held steady, according to the polling firm’s analysis.
The national table-turning echoes that in Florida, where a pivotal primary contest looms Tuesday. Two weeks ago, Romney had a 22-point lead over Gingrich in the Sunshine State, but new Rasmussen Reports polling released Monday shows the former speaker with 41 percent support now among likely GOP primary voters in the Sunshine State with Romney in second at 32 percent.
Almost 40 percent of GOP voters nationwide now believe Gingrich would be the strongest opponent against President Barack Obama in the general election, while 37 percent say that of Romney. This represents a big shift from last week, when 43 percent viewed Romney as the strongest Obama opponent and 29 percent opted for Gingrich. More than 60 percent consider Paul the weakest general election opponent to Obama.