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New NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll Shows Gingrich Up in Florida

David McAlpine |
January 26, 2012 | 6:40 p.m. PST

Supervising Executive Producer

In the days leading up to the Florida Republican Primary, numbers are everything. And in a new poll done by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News, Gingrich is up with Republicans, but nearly down and out if he were to go up against President Obama in November.

The poll showed Gingrich leading Romney 37% to 28%, one of the largest margins seen so far in Florida voters. However, the poll wasn't all good news for the former Speaker of the House.

From The Wall Street Journal:

But the survey also finds that many Americans overall, notably political independents, hold negative feelings about Mr. Gingrich, and that Mr. Romney fares considerably better in a hypothetical matchup against Democratic President Barack Obama.

The poll captures on a larger stage much of the drama playing out now in Florida, where Mr. Romney is scrambling to stop Mr. Gingrich's resurgence by jabbing at his weaknesses. After trailing at the start of the week, Mr. Romney has moved to even or just ahead in more recent polls. Florida holds its primary next Tuesday.

The Journal/NBC poll also puts a spotlight on the bigger issue of electability, registering a distinct uptick in positive sentiment both toward the economy and President Barack Obama. Greater confidence in the economy would strengthen Mr. Obama's position leading up to the November election.

However, some analysts say this new poll doesn't count Romney out. Gingrich has historically performed well in the South, but seems to be lacking in other parts of the country.


Romney leads in the Northeast (38 percent to 32 percent), and is statistically tied with Gingrich in all other regions: in the Midwest (Gingrich leads 32-29 percent) and West (Gingrich 33-32 percent).

In December, the last time the poll was conducted, Gingrich also led (40 percent to 23 percent), but much has changed since then, including two fourth place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire for Gingrich, and his decisive victory in South Carolina. The poll, conducted Sunday through Tuesday, went into the field the day after Gingrich’s victory there.

Gingrich is also viewed as the most electable candidate by GOP primary voters. He leads Romney 2-to-1 among those who picked electability as mattering most to them in a candidate. He holds a narrow lead, 46-44 percent, among those say views on issues matter most.

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