After a brief spell where Florida Republicans seemed to favor Newt Ginrgrich as their GOP flavor of the month, Mitt Romney is firmly back on top in the Sunshine State after his Iowa caucus victory. Gingrich remains second, while Rick Santorum has seen his fortunes rise somewhat but is still a distant third. As for Ron Paul, well, Floridians just straight-up don't like the guy.
Here are the numbers from Quinnipiac's latest poll. The poll questioned 560 likely primary voters in the state between January 4 and 6:
- Perry: 5 percent
- Gingrich: 24 percent
- Romney: 36 percent
- Santorum: 16 percent
- Paul: 10 percent
- Huntsman: 2 percent
With those kinds of across-the-board numbers for Romney, it's difficult to imagine where the surging Santorum can make inroads aside from capitalizing on leftover Michele Bachmann voters and further eroding support for Rick Perry. Though he still has time. Fifty-four percent of voters say they still might change their mind before Florida's end-of-January primary. Perhaps, though, Santorum might be better off trying to cut into the slowly flailing Gingrich's support than directly into Romney's.
One candidate not likely to make much of a surge in Florida: Ron Paul. He's the only candidate whose favorable rating is underwater among Florida Republicans. Forty-seven percent find him unfavorable, compared to just 34 percent who find him favorable. Chalk that up to his, uh, "nuanced" stance on Israel and his support of lifting the Cuban embargo. You can't hold those positions and expect to make sweet with the Florida GOP. Unlike his surprise showing in Iowa, don't expect him to be much of a factor here.
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