Four polls of South Carolina voters in the last 24 hours agree that the first-in-the-South contest between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich is tightening – and is likely to shift again in the next 24.
After all, we’ve got a CNN debate to get through tonight, and the late-night broadcast by ABC News of an ex-wife. Tweets this morning indicate that Marianne Gingrich, the second wife of the former U.S. House speaker, will allege that – before their divorce — her husband asked for an “open” marriage.
One would assume that the conversation is one that Gingrich repented of when he converted to Catholicism. A statement issued by the Gingrich campaign quoted his two daughters, Jackie Cushman and Kathy Lubbers, about the divorce:
“Anyone who has had that experience understands it is a personal tragedy filled with regrets, and sometimes differing memories of events.”
But about those polls. This morning, there’s the NBC/Marist poll:
As the Republican presidential candidates crisscross the Palmetto State in the days leading up to Saturday’s South Carolina primary, Mitt Romney leads Newt Gingrich, 34% to 24%, among likely Republican primary voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate based on interviews conducted on Monday and Tuesday.
But the Tuesday half of the poll, conducted after the Monday debate on Fox News, was sharply tilted toward Gingrich.
Politico.com also has a South Carolina survey out this morning, which shows Gingrich “within striking distance” of Romney. The poll “shows the former Massachusetts governor atop the GOP field with 37 percent and the former House speaker at 30 percent.”
And the Augusta Chronicle, whose circulation stretches into South Carolina, this morning is touting a Wednesday night, InsiderAdvantage/Majority Opinion Research poll that gives Gingrich the slight edge in a statistical tie over Romney – 32 percent to 29 percent, with a 3.8 percent margin of error.
And, of course, ahead of its debate tonight, CNN on Wednesday evening released a poll that had a nearly 20-point lead by Romney shrinking to 10 points. Their current line: Romney, 33 percent; Gingrich, 23 percent.
But CNN, too, noted that its survey straddled the Monday night debate, and results on one side of that divide were far different from the other.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider