In what has been a topsy-turvy campaign, Mitt Romney currently holds a 7 point lead over Newt Gingrich among likely Republican primary voters in Florida according to the Monmouth University Poll. The former Massachusetts governor registers 39% support while the former House Speaker has 32%. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (11%) and Texas Congressman Ron Paul (8%) are well behind the top two contenders.
There are decided age and gender gaps in the voting intentions of Sunshine State Republicans. Men give a slight edge to Gingrich over Romney (38% to 33%), while women prefer Romney over Gingrich by a sizable margin (45% to 26%). Voters age 65 and older prefer Romney, by a 48% to 33% margin. The contest is closer among those age 45 to 64 (36% Romney to 31% Gingrich) and age 18 to 44 (33% Gingrich to 29% Romney).
Gingrich (40%) does well among those who call themselves very conservative, leading both Romney (34%) and Santorum (15%) among a voting bloc that comprises nearly 4-in-10 likely voters. But Romney does better among the bulk of voters who see themselves as either somewhat conservative (44% to 34% for Gingrich) or moderate to liberal (44% to just 19% for Gingrich).
Among those who support the Tea Party movement, support is split at 38% for each of the two leading candidates. However, Gingrich does better among those who say they strongly support the Tea Party with 49% to 24% for Romney. It’s the mirror image among those who support the Tea Party only somewhat – 51% for Romney to 27% for Gingrich. Romney also bests Gingrich among voters who either oppose or have no opinion about the Tea Party (42% to 18%).