Three polls put Gingrich in lead in SC - - Columbia, South Carolina

Three polls put Gingrich in lead in SC

Newt Gingrich Newt Gingrich
Mitt Romney Mitt Romney

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich now holds a slight lead over Mitt Romney among those likely to vote in Saturday's "First in the South" GOP primary, according to two new polls.

A Rasmussen Reports poll released Thursday shows Gingrich has 33% support over Romney's 31%. That same polling agency showed Romney with a 14% lead on Tuesday.

Texas Congressman Ron Paul now runs third with 15% of the vote, followed by former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum at 11%. Paul's support is steady while Santorum's support has dropped five points since Monday.  At the beginning of the month, just after Santorum's strong showing in the Iowa caucuses, he ran second to Romney with 24% of the vote.

A poll conducted Wednesday also puts Gingrich ahead of Romney. The Insider Advantage/Majority Opinion Research poll shows 32% of the people polled plan to vote for Gingrich. Romney runs a close second with 29%. Of the 718 registered voters who were polled, only 7% were undecided.

A third poll from Public Policy Polling out of North Carolina has Gingrich with 34 percent, Romney with 28 percent and Paul with 15 percent. According to the poll, Gingrich's rise has been attributed to undecided voters heading in his direction and Santorum's support collapsing.

The new findings come following Gingrich's strong performance in a debate in Myrtle Beach Monday night. The candidates will debate again Thursday evening in Charleston.

South Carolina's primary is Saturday.

Related story:

Romney drops, Gingrich gains in latest poll

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