Newt Gingrich is building quite a lead in the Republican presidential race in Virginia, according to a new poll conducted by Public Policy Polling.
The poll, conducted Dec. 11-13 with 350 Republican primary voters, shows Gingrich at 41 percent, followed by Mitt Romney at 15 percent. No other candidate was in double digits. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry came in at 8 percent, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul at 6 percent, Jon Huntsman at 3 percent, and Gary Johnson at 1 percent. Twelve percent said they'd vote for someone else or were not sure who they would vote for.
The margin of error for the survey is +/-5.2 percent.
Public Policy Polling said that the results continue a trend for Gingrich in the South. PPP said that last week he led a North Carolina poll by 37 points over Romney and two weeks ago PPP had him up by 30 points in Florida.
More from PPP:
To have a lead this large requires broad support with the various different factions of the party, and Gingrich has it. For instance with Tea Party voters he leads Romney by 35 points, 46-11. But with non-Tea Party voters he's winning by almost as much, a 27 point margin at 43-16. He is also first with every gender and age group.
Virginia's a pretty good example of Romney's fading popularity. When PPP last polled the state in August his favorability was a +18 spread at 50/32. He's now dropped 12 points to only +6 at 46/40. Beyond that what was an 18% standing in the horse race has declined to its current 15% level. Certainly Gingrich is on fire right now but the other big story in the Republican race is that Romney isn't just standing in place any more- he's actually moving backward.
The other leading Republican contenders have seen their stature decline since August as well. Bachmann's favorability has declined 8 points from +12 at 46/34 to now +4 at 41/37. And Rick Perry's seen the biggest decline from +26 (44/18) to -6 (37/43) for a whooping 32 point move in the wrong direction.
The survey does show that while Gingrich has a lead, the others may be able to climb back into the race. The survey showed that 42 percent of his voters are "firmly committed," while 58 percent say they could change their minds between now and the election.
And of those who said they'd vote for Gingrich, 26 percent said Romney is their second choice.