In a stunning turnaround, Newt Gingrich has nearly erased the 23-point lead that Mitt Romney had over him nationally in the Republican nomination fight exactly one week ago, according to a new Gallup tracking poll.
Last Monday, Romney led Gingrich nationally 37 percent to 14 percent in the Gallup survey. Today, after two debates and Gingrich's blowout victory in South Carolina on Saturday, Romney's lead has shrunk to a statistically meaningless 29 percent to 28 percent. Making matters worse for Romney, the Gallup poll is a 5-day average, meaning that the current poll only reflects one day of polling since Gingrich won South Carolina. That implies that in the coming days, Gingrich will likely pull ahead.
Given the volatility of the polls, Romney can certainly come back with strong debate performances this week, by driving up Gingrich's negatives with attack ads and a victory in Florida. But the quick swing does reinforce the view that Romney's underlying support is quite soft.