Looking at the Florida polling at the end of January 25, even as the pollsters are calling Floridians for another round tonight, there is some evidence that the trend is going toward Mitt Romney or, rather, away from Newt Gingrich.
Gingrich led by 8% in the two polls taken wholly on January 22, the first night after the January 21 South Carolina primary. In the polls on both January 22 and 23, Gingrich led by 5% and 0%; that was the night of the Tampa debate, but it could not have affected the numbers since pollsters typically stop calling at 9pm, which was when the debate was taken. In the single poll taken on January 22, 23 and 24, with one-third of respondents exposed to the debate and subsequent news stories and spin Romney led by 2%. These are not huge differences. But they suggest that the January 23 debate, in which Romney sharply attacked Gingrich’s record of governing, may have had some effect. We’ll know more as the poll numbers come in on interviewing conducted on January 25 and 26, and then from January 27 on, after Florida voters have had a chance to evaluate the January 26 debate in Jacksonville.