Gingrich leads Ga., Santorum 2nd, poll shows

Ex-speaker leads state in new poll
Newt Gingrich was favored by 35 percent of the poll respondents, ahead of Rick Santorum, at 26 percent.

ATLANTA — Former Georgia congressman Newt Gingrich is leading among primary voters in the state he represented for two decades and Rick Santorum is second in a poll released Friday.

Gingrich, a former speaker of the U.S. House, gets the nod from 35 percent, while the former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania surged into second with 26 percent in the wake of his three primary wins this week in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.

Mitt Romney has 16 percent, putting him in third place, ahead of Ron Paul’s 5 percent.

Eighteen percent were undecided when surveyed by phone Thursday evening.

The poll by Rosetta Stone Communications and Landmark Communications questioned 1,475 people who said they were likely to vote in Georgia’s Republican presidential primary March 6 – Super Tuesday. It has a margin of error of 2.6 percent.

“Gingrich leads, and the fight seems for now to have become a battle for second place,” said Mark Rountree, the president of Landmark. “The race remains volatile.”

Although Gingrich has ranked first among Georgia Republicans in polls since native-son Herman Cain ended his campaign, Santorum has lingered in the single digits until his three wins this week.

“Voter preferences continue to be fluid,” said John Garst, the president of Rosetta Stone. “The question is whether Santorum’s surge can hold until Super Tuesday, or whether it’s just reflecting the news week.”

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