• Poll shows Gingrich expanding lead in Georgia


    ATLANTA,None - A new poll shows Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum losing ground in Georgia to Newt Gingrich, even after an extensive visit to the state.

    The Landmark/Rosetta Stone poll of 950 likely Republican primary voters was conducted Thursday exclusively for Channel 2 Action News.

    The survey showed Newt Gingrich earning 42 percent of the vote, Mitt Romney with 22 percent, Rick Santorum with 16 percent and Ron Paul with 5 percent. Fifteen percent of Georgians remained undecided.

    A Landmark/Rosetta Stone poll conducted one week ago had Santorum in second place, but the candidate has lost nearly 10 percent of the vote in that time. Romney edged Santorum in the Michigan and Arizona primaries on Tuesday.

    Newt Gingrich's strategy of blanketing Georgia appears to be paying off. Gringrich has widened his lead from 13 percent to 20 percent, in what has become a must-win state.

    Still, Channel 2 political analyst Bill Crane expects many of the undecided voters to go to Santorum.

    "Roughly two of every three voters are self-identified evangelical. I still predict he'll pick up the majority of the undecided voters which puts him in a race for second place with Governor Romney," Crane told Channel 2's Lori Geary.

    Romney and Santorum must earn at least 20 percent of the vote on Super Tuesday to get any delegates.

    The poll, with a margin of error of 3 percent, showed the results are very similar among men and women, but the candidates are in a virtual four way tie among voters age 18 to 34.

    Crane told Geary the week has gone well for Gingrich in Georgia, but the real question facing the former House speaker is where to campaign next.

    Campaign officials told Geary they expect Gingrich to travel to Georgia on Tuesday, then he'll travel to Alabama, Mississippi and Kansas.

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