Mitt Romney Tops Latest Florida Polls

Lead on Newt Gingrich likely buoyed by big spending and strong pre-primary debates.

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 They're up, they're down, and they're all around. The poll numbers in Florida for the GOP presidential candidates showed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney up big following his New Hampshire victory, only to show him plummeting behind the South Carolina victor, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, more recently.

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But after his outspending Gingrich by millions in paid advertisements and two strong debate performances, the latest polls show Romney back on top.

Romney leads Gingrich 38 percent to 29 percent, according to a survey from Quinnipiac University released Friday morning. Remaining GOP rivals Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum garnered 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

"Gingrich's momentum from his South Carolina victory appears to have stalled and Gov. Mitt Romney seems to be pulling away in Florida," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a release.

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The poll surveyed 580 likely Republican voters between January 24 and 26 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

Helping Romney weather the storm of attacks since unveiling two years' worth of tax returns on his nearly $250 million fortune is that he continues to be considered the most likable candidate in the race.

"Romney has a better favorability rating from likely primary voters, which supports his lead in the horse race," said Brown. "Of course, with four days before Election Day, there is time for another reversal. Three in 10 voters say they might change their mind."

A similar Quinnipiac poll, released on Wednesday, had shown a much tighter race, with Romney leading Gingrich 36 percent to 34 percent.

[See the Florida Primary Primer - 5 Things to Know.]

Brown noted that because the Florida debates are finished, Gingrich is going to have to work some campaign trail magic to come out on top on Tuesday.

"With the debates now over, Gingrich will need some other way to reverse the tide that appears to be going against him," he said.

Another survey released Friday, the Sunshine State News poll conducted by Voter Survey Service, showed similar results. Romney garnered 40 percent support to Gingrich's 31 percent, Santorum's 12 percent, and Paul's 9 percent.

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