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Gingrich has 21-point lead in national poll, 2-point lead over Obama in head-to-head poll

December 2, 2011

Newt Gingrich

Online Staff Report

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich now owns a 21-point lead in the race for the Republican nomination for president, according to results of a national poll released Dec. 1.

The Dec. 1 Rasmussen Reports poll showed Gingrich at 38 percent; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 17 percent; Herman Cain and U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) at 8 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) at 4 percent; and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 3 percent.

Other recent Rasmussen Reports polls showed Gingrich edging President Barack Obama 45-43 percent in a head-to-head poll; 76 percent believing the country was headed in the wrong direction as opposed to 16 percent believing it was headed in the right direction; and 48 percent supporting a Republican presidential candidate with 42 percent supporting Obama.

Gingrich has seen his poll numbers rise by 24 points since a Nov. 3 Rasmussen Reports poll showed Cain as the frontrunner at 26 percent; Romney at 23 percent; Gingrich at 14 percent; Perry at 8 percent; Paul at 7 percent; Bachmann and Huntsman at 2 percent; and Santorum at 1 percent.

According to a Politico report, Gingrich’s surge in the polls has put a strain on his campaign, which saw his initial staff resign en masse in June.

Gingrich’s campaign is now scrambling to keep up with his frontrunner status as the Jan. 3, 2012, first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses approach. As reported by Politico, his campaign did not have an Iowa headquarters until this week, and “At a recent Republican Party of Iowa dinner, several Republicans discussed how impressed they were by Gingrich and said they wanted to help his campaign, if only they could find someone to contact.”

His campaign now has 24 staff members in the first three primary and caucus states — six in Iowa, eight in New Hampshire and 10 in South Carolina.

Since he has been operating with such a small staff, Gingrich has reportedly been fielding e-mails from influential supporters himself, and is relying on a central group of dedicated friends, including his wife, Callista.

Despite his lack of staff in the early primary states, recent polls show Gingrich out in front by 15 points in Iowa and 23 points in South Carolina, while he trails Romney by 10 points in New Hampshire.

Following, by state, are the most recent poll results for the three early primary states:

Iowa (Insider Advantage poll) — Gingrich 28 at percent, Paul 13 at percent, Romney at 12 percent, Cain and Bachmann at 10 percent, Perry at 7 percent, and Santorum at 3 percent.

South Carolina (Insider Advantage poll) — Gingrich at 38 percent, Romney at 15 percent, Cain at 13 percent, Paul at 7 percent, Perry at 4 percent, Bachmann at 3 percent, and Santorum at 2 percent.

New Hampshire (Rasmussen Reports poll) — Romney at 34 percent, Gingrich at 24 percent, Paul at 14 percent, Huntsman at 11 percent, Cain at 5 percent, Perry and Bachmann at 2 percent, and Santorum at 1 percent.

Iowa’s caucuses are the first test in the primary election season. Although followed closely by the media and central to determining which candidates remain in the race, the only non-incumbent candidates to win their party’s caucus and go on to win the general election were George W. Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008. Neither Ronald Reagan nor Bill Clinton won in Iowa prior to their first terms.

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