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Gingrich Takes the Lead in South Carolina

8:01 AM, Jan 19, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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An Insider Advantage poll taken in South Carolina on Wednesday — two days after the most recent Republican presidential debate — shows that Newt Gingrich has erased a double-digit deficit to take the lead over Mitt Romney.  Gingrich now has 32 percent support, up 11 percentage points from his tally in the previous Insider Advantage poll, which was taken on Sunday. Mitt Romney now has 29 percent support, down 3 points from the prior poll. That’s a 14-point swing in Gingrich favor (from an 11-point deficit to a 3-point lead) over a span of just three days.

Newt

The current poll shows support for Ron Paul holding relatively steady, at 15 percent (up 1 point). Rick Santorum’s level of support has dipped slightly, to 11 percent (down 2 points). And Rick Perry’s level of support has dropped from 5 percent to 3 percent. 

The previous Insider Advantage poll was taken before Jon Huntsman — who had 6 percent support (as of Sunday) — dropped out of the race. More than likely, Romney received most of Huntsman’s support, without which Romney’s 3-point decline could well have been much steeper. 

The final South Carolina debate airs tonight, at 8:00 EST (on CNN).

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