Gingrich Leads Among GOP, Loses With All Others

Romney, Gingrich both behind Obama, as prez approval rises

By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 27, 2012 4:47 AM CST

(Newser) – Nationwide, Newt Gingrich has opened a nine-point lead over Mitt Romney among Republican voters—but the former House speaker's negatives remain high with independents and Democrats, making Romney a stronger candidate head-to-head against President Obama, according to a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. Gingrich beats Romney among Republicans 37% to 28%, but that's down from his 40% to 23% lead in last month's poll. Rick Santorum currently has 18% support, and Ron Paul 12%.

As the US economy appears to improve, public sentiment toward the president is also climbing, with approval outstripping disapproval 48% to 46%—the first time it has been positive since June. Obama out-polls a generic Republican candidate 47% to 42%, his strongest margin in seven months. Obama also beats Romney by 49% to 43%, and Gingrich by a whopping 55% to 37%. "Republicans better bring their 'A' game to the election, because they cannot depend on a negative, crushing environment to win," said a Republican who conducted the poll.

Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney talk during a commercial break at the Republican presidential candidates debate in Jacksonville, Fla., last night.
Republican presidential candidates Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney talk during a commercial break at the Republican presidential candidates debate in Jacksonville, Fla., last night.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speak at the University of North Florida, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla.
Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speak at the University of North Florida, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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