John McCain Holds Slight Lead Over Mitt Romney in Florida GOP Primary

State   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 27, 2008   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

John McCain Holds Slight Lead Over Mitt Romney in Florida GOP Primary

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by Steven Ertelt Editor
January 27,

Tallahassee, FL ( — Mitt Romney closed strong towards the end of last week in the Florida Republican polls. But Monday surveys show a last-minute endorsement and campaigning by Florida Governor Charlie Crist may have helped John McCain regain a slight lead heading into Tuesday’s election.

Of five new polls released on Monday, four of them show McCain with a lead and a Rasmussen survey has McCain and Romney tied. Giuliani appears likely to finish in third place and Mike Huckabee is in fourth.

A new Reuters/C-Span/Zogby poll has McCain ahead 33-30 over Romney with Giuliani at 14 and Huckabee 11. A Suffolk University poll shows a 30-27-13-11 breakdown.

A Strategic Vision poll has it at 27-26-17-15 in the same order of the candidates and Quinnipiac University shows 32-31-14-13.

The Rasmussen poll shows McCain and Romney both at 31 percent with Giuliani at 16 and Huckabee at 11 — the only one of the five without McCain ahead.

However, the tie is a departure from a Rasmussen poll released on Sunday showing Romney leading with the backing of 33 percent of Republicans to 27 percent for McCain. Rudy Giuliani had the support of 18 percent while Mike Huckabee rounds out the top four with 12 percent.

The slate of new polls make it clear that Florida is only a two-man race as both Giuliani and Huckabee have faded down the stretch and don’t appear likely to win the Tuesday battle.

In the latest eight polls, McCain now has an average of 29.3 percent of the Republican vote to 28.5 percent for Romney, 15.9 percent for Giuliani and 13.4 percent for Huckabee.

The polling data makes it appear Romney has captured a significant amount of support from undecided voters with his heavy advertising and from supporters of Fred Thompson, who dropped out last week.

Meanwhile, McCain appears to continue to gain former backers of Rudy Giuliani, who continues his slide in the polls and appears less and less likely to mount a comeback in Florida.

"As Florida voters seek to decide between the two frontrunners, support for other candidates is fading," Rasmussen indicates.

Romney leads 42% to 22% among conservative voters while McCain leads 43% to 25% among moderates, Rasmussen reports.

Despite trailing the other candidates, 85 percent of Huckcabee’s supporters are either certain they will vote for him or have already voted. Eighty percent of Romney’s supporters are that “certain” along with 79% of Giuliani voters and 72% of those who support McCain.

In all the polls, Republican candidate Ron Paul polls at low single digits.