The race for the Republican presidential nomination is now nearly even with Mitt Romney still on top but Newt Gingrich just three points apart.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters nationwide shows Romney with 30% support and Gingrich with 27% of the vote. Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, who was running second two weeks ago, has now dropped to 15%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul captures 13% support from likely primary voters, and Texas Governor Rick Perry remains in last place with four percent (4%). Another four percent (4%) like some other candidate in the race, and seven percent (7%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
But the story in the new numbers, taken Tuesday night, is Gingrich’s jump 11 points from 16% two weeks ago. Romney’s support is essentially unchanged from 29% at that time, while Santorum is down six points from 21%. Paul’s and Perry’s support is also unchanged. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman earned four percent (4%) of the vote at the start of the month but dropped out of the race this week. This suggests that many voters are still looking for an alternative to Romney and currently see Gingrich as that candidate.At some point though Gingrich has to win a state primary or caucus. If the non-Romney vote continues to be divided, that is unlikely to happen.