Newt Surges— Does SC Upset Loom?

Latest polls show 2-man race in South Carolina
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2012 7:38 AM CST
Newt Gaining on Mitt in SC
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich talk at the end of the South Carolina Republican presidential candidate debate in Myrtle Beach, SC, Jan. 16, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, Pool)

Newt Gingrich is so close to Mitt Romney in South Carolina that an upset win is within the realm of possibility, according to a couple of new polls. Politico's numbers have Romney still leading the field with 37%, but Gingrich is close behind at 30%. Both are well ahead of their rivals; Ron Paul and Rick Santorum are battling for fourth with just 11% and 10% respectively, and Rick Perry barely registers with 4%. "You really have a two-man race," says the pollster who ran the survey.

An NBC poll reveals a similar trend; it has Romney up by 10 points, with 34% to Gingrich's 24%, but that represents a whopping 5-point overnight jump for Gingrich following Monday's debate. Conservatives and evangelical Christians especially flocked to the former speaker after that performance. Both polls also reveal that Gingrich's attacks on Romney's Bain Capital tenure haven't hit home; 70% told Politico that Bain wouldn't influence their vote, and 48% told NBC the attacks were unfair. (Read more Newt Gingrich stories.)

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