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Political Reporter Jack Fink: Polls Reflect Impact Of Gingrich’s S.C. Win

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(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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129591092 Political Reporter Jack Fink: Polls Reflect Impact Of Gingrichs S.C. Win

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich speaks during a Republican presidential debate on October 18, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The following is analysis from CBS 11 political reporter Jack Fink.  

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As I wrote Saturday night, Newt Gingrich’s big win in South Carolina changes everything.

We’re starting to see what appears as a seismic shift among Republicans in Florida. Last week, Mitt Romney was far ahead in the Sunshine State, leading Gingrich by at least 22 points and more.

Now, two new polls out Monday by Rasmussen and Insider Advantage (they were taken yesterday) show Gingrich ahead of Romney by nine and eight, respectively.

Rasmussen:
Newt Gingrich – 41 percent
Mitt Romney – 32 percent
Rick Santorum – 11 percent
Ron Paul – 8 percent

Insider Advantage:
Newt Gingrich – 34 percent
Mitt Romney – 26 percent
Ron Paul – 13 percent
Rick Santorum – 11 percent

Momentum has shifted toward Gingrich, and even though he doesn’t have the money or organization Romney has in Florida, he has the passionate support from conservatives.

Before South Carolina, many Republicans, even some evangelical conservatives, said they supported Romney because they felt he has the best chance to beat President Obama, and that was their most important factor.

Now that Gingrich had such a convincing win in South Carolina, Republicans may feel Gingrich is more electable than Romney and can beat President Barack Obama during a general election. Romney never excited conservatives, but Gingrich clearly does.

It’s all because of his strong debate performances and his ability to sharply criticize the President and his policies.

The key to watch is whether Gingrich will be able to take his momentum and raise money and build an organization to win Florida’s primary on January 31.

Meanwhile, there’s another debate tonight in Tampa, and another one Thursday in Jacksonville.

Stay tuned!

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