December 14, 2011 at 10:50 pm
by Evan Axelbank/WPTV
In a straw poll of 178 Palm Beach County Republicans, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney turned statewide polls upside-down tonight by beating former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 41% to 34%. The results may indicate that Romney – although suffering from slower momentum in polls than his chief rival – has a deeper campaign organization that can deliver supporters to voting booths when it counts.
“The polls are understating the fact that Romney has been on the ground for a very long time,” said Palm Beach County GOP Chair Sid Dinerstein. ”Newt, as you saw tonight has just found the ground.” Romney’s campaign had a county co-chair on hand to deliver remarks, as well as a table that boasted campaign literature.
“At the end of the day, we’re confident that Gov. Romney will be the nominee,” said co-chair Melissa Nash.
The results may also indicate that Florida’s Republican primary could be a two-person race, although seven candidates are competing for the nomination.
Gingrich has had success of late in both national polls and in polls conducted in Iowa, where a first-in-the-nation caucus is scheduled for January 3rd.
Gingrich is hoping to use a victory there to generate momentum, money and devoted volunteers who will sign on in states like New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida.
Romney and Gingrich bested the other candidates by more then twenty points tonight.
Dinerstein says that might make the other five candidates think twice about pouring in resources to a state whose delegates are winner-take-all. “This may turn out to be where we only have two campaigns that are doing knock-down drag out all the way through January 31st,” said Dinerstein.
Final Straw Poll Results
-Mitt Romney – 41%
-Newt Gingrich – 34%
-Ron Paul – 8%
-Rick Perry – 6%
-Rick Santorum – 5%
-Michele Bachmann – 4%
-Jon Huntsman – 2%