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New poll: Gingrich gains on Romney in South Carolina

January 18, 2012|By Michael A. Memoli
  • Newt Gingrich speaks at the Christ Central Community Center in Winnsboro, S.C., on Wednesday.
Newt Gingrich speaks at the Christ Central Community Center in Winnsboro,… (Pablo Martinez Monsivais…)

Mitt Romney still holds a double-digit lead in South Carolina ahead of the state's potentially decisive Republican primary, but Newt Gingrich has narrowed the gap some, according to a new CNN/Time poll.

Romney has the support of 33% of likely Republican primary voters in South Carolina, good for a 10-point advantage over Gingrich. That's down, however, from an 18-point lead Romney held over Rick Santorum in a poll earlier this month.

Santorum is now down to 16% in the new poll, followed by Ron Paul at 13% and Rick Perry at 6%.

For Romney, a win in South Carolina on Saturday could essentially end the GOP nominating race. He's already won the New Hampshire primary, and was the presumed victor in the Iowa caucuses a week earlier. The Iowa Republican Party will announce its final certified caucus results on Thursday.

Romney has a more significant lead in Florida, which votes 10 days after South Carolina.

The CNN/Time poll showed Romney leading Santorum 43-19%, with Gingrich at 18%.

Both surveys were conducted from Friday to Tuesday. The South Carolina survey of 505 likely voters had a margin of error of 4.5%. The Florida poll of 391 likely voters had a margin of error of 5%.

The GOP hopefuls will meet for another televised debate in South Carolina on Thursday.

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