Republican presidential candidates former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul place their hands over their hearts during the National Anthem at the start of a debate sponsored by CNN, the Republican Party of Florida and the Hispanic Leadership Network at the University North Florida on January 26, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida. (credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Mitt Romney appears to have recaptured a solid lead in the Sunshine State, now four days away from the all-important, winner-take-all Florida primary. Two new polls out show the former Massachusetts Governor with a nine-point lead over Newt Gingrich.

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In the Sunshine State News/VSS poll, Romney has a 40-31 percent lead over the former House Speaker. Rick Santorum has 12 percent and Ron Paul has 9 percent. In a Quinnipiac poll, Romney has 38 percent while Gingrich has 29 percent. Paul has 14 percent and Santorum has 12 percent

During Thursday night’s debate, the final one before Tuesday’s election, the political fireworks erupted, perhaps to no one’s surprise. With so much at stake, Gingrich attacked Romney, and Romney shot back.

But while those two argued over their investments, Santorum, the former Pennsylvania Senator, landed some real punches on Romney for his health care law in Massachusetts, which some believe laid the groundwork for the President’s healthcare law. Santorum also criticized Gingrich for his previous support for the mandate requiring individuals to buy health insurance. The U.S. Supreme Court, of course, is now considering whether the mandate in President Barack Obama’s law is constitutional.

You can see the bitter divisions on and off the debate stage. It seems the race for the White House has turned into a bitter battle over the future of the Republican Party itself: Establishment versus the Tea Party and the Grass Roots Insurgents.

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One on side, you have Republicans in the establishment lambasting Gingrich. Former U.S. Senator from Kansas and unsuccessful Presidential candidate Bob Dole criticized Gingrich along with one of the former House Speaker’s top deputies, Tom DeLay of Texas. Numerous other conservative columnists have also rejected Gingrich’s past leadership and questioned his ability to beat the President. They favor Romney.

On the other side, Tea Party members and former Alaska Governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who support Gingrich and do not trust Romney. After Palin suggested voters in South Carolina vote for Gingrich, he took off in the polls and won the Palmetto State’s primary by a huge margin. The question is: Can Gingrich win Florida back before Tuesday?

Florida is more diverse and larger than South Carolina, and Romney appears to have ironed out some campaign wrinkles. Even though Santorum has made some jabs against both Gingrich and Romney, it appears he is a non-factor.

So, while the two front-runners continue to duke it out, some analysts believe their very vocal, nasty fight will ultimately help President Obama win re-election later this year. Some Republicans worry about that. Others do not because, they say, it is more important to have a pure conservative, non-establishment candidate leading their party and getting their message out.

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