New poll showing Gingrich quickly gaining on Romney

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC/AP) - According to a new poll, Newt Gingrich is quickly gaining on Mitt Romney.

The Gallup's daily tracking poll released on Friday is reporting among likely registered voters, Romney is leading nationally with 30 percent, compared to 20 percent for Gingrich.

The poll indicates that Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are tied at 13 percent.

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich have been jockeying for the top spot as polls have been showing.

No one knows the in's and out's of the polling business better than Scott Rasmussen from Rasmussen Reports who gave some of his insights.

Rasmussen said that he didn't know for sure who was going to win the primary, but did give a possible take based on his polls.

"The reality is that in a normal situation, I would say Newt Gingrich is likely to win," Rasmussen said."He was down 14 points on Monday, had a great debate, Sarah Palin said some good things about him and he moved into the lead by two points in our polls. But there are too many unknowns especially the impact or the potential impact of the interview with his ex-wife."

The former speaker's second wife, Marianne Gingrich, says in an interview with ABC News that when she discovered Gingrich was having an affair he asked her for an open marriage.

"His response in the debate last night was amazingly positive," Rasmussen said."He turned it from being a question about his personal baggage into question the motives of ABC and CNN and into Republican primary voters."

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney may be the front-runner for the GOP nomination for president, but he has yet to win over most of the national party leaders whose help he will need to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

The upside for Romney: They aren't supporting anyone else either.

The Associated Press has polled 87 members of the Republican National Committee who are to attend the party's national convention this summer as free agent delegates, able to support any candidate for president they choose, regardless of what happens in the primaries.

The results: Romney got support from 14, far more than anyone else but hardly a stampede of endorsements. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Gov. Rick Perry got two each, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum each got one. The poll was completed before Perry dropped out of the race Thursday.

Sixty-seven of the RNC members contacted by the AP said they were undecided or simply waiting to see how the race plays out before making a public endorsement.

"If I thought there was someone who stood head and shoulders above everyone else, I would have endorsed," said Jeff Johnson, an RNC member and county commissioner from Minnesota. "I see pluses in all of them, but I decided not to come out in favor of anybody."

Pennsylvania GOP Chairman Robert Gleason said he saw no reason to endorse anyone because a competitive primary is good for the party and the eventual nominee by vetting the candidate while generating publicity and excitement about the race.

"It's working out great for us, and one of these people that is competing with (Romney) could end up being vice president," Gleason said. "I'm pleased with the way things are developing. We're getting all the publicity. It's been pretty favorable for us."

Romney appeared to finish slightly ahead of Santorum in the hours after the Iowa caucuses Jan. 3. However, the Iowa GOP certified vote totals Thursday showing Santorum ahead of Romney. The party decided not to declare a winner because of problems with a few precinct reports.

Romney won handily in New Hampshire last week, and he leads his Republican rivals in the polls nationally and in South Carolina, which votes Saturday. Still, the former Massachusetts governor has been unable to solidify support from many Republicans, some of whom question his conservative credentials.

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