Poll Predicts Romney Is Florida Winner
The poll by the Tampa Bay Times and Bay News 9 shows Mitt Romney with a comfortable lead over his nearest rival, Newt Gingrich. Women voters are seen as driving force.
A poll gives Mitt Romney an 11 point lead over his closest rival in the Florida Republican primary, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Romney is making a last push for Tampa Bay voters today, with a scheduled visit at 2:30 p.m. in Dunedin.
The new numbers suggest that the former Massachusetts governor has regained ground since former House Speaker Newt Gingrich emerged the winner in South Carolina.
A poll by the Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 shows Romney with 42 percent of likely voters, compared to 31 percent for Gingrich. Rick Santorum follows with 14 percent, and Ron Paul has 6 percent.
Romney's renewed vigor is being attributed in part to his performances in debates since the South Carolina vote.
Romney also is more popular with female voters. Some observers say that women voters' support for Romney is a vote against Gingrich, who has taken some public hits from one of two ex-wives about alleged extra-marital affairs.
Without support from female voters, Romney and Gingrich would be dead-even, according to the poll numbers. The two candidates are tied among male voters, but Romney is 19 points ahead among Florida women who are likely voters.
According to the Tampa Bay Times:
"Romney leads in every region of the state — and by 16 percentage points in Tampa Bay. The two Republican front-runners are closest in conservative North Florida, where Romney has 36 percent support and Gingrich 31 percent.
" 'Romney's margin is largely driven by Republican women, and he also has a very strong base of support among the Hispanic community,' said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll."