The Washington Times - January 26, 2012, 04:47PM

A Monmouth University poll that was released Thursday shows likely Florida Republican primary voters giving former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney a 7 point lead over former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich: 

The former Massachusetts governor registers 39% support while the former House Speaker has 32%.  Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum (11%) and Texas Congressman Ron Paul (8%) are well behind the top two contenders.


While men give a slight edge to Gingrich over Romney in the poll (38% to 33%), women prefer Romney over Gingrich by a sizable margin (45% to 26%). Mr. Gingrich has been hit with harsh messaging by opponents over his past marriage and divorce.

However, Gingrich does better than Romney and Santorum among voters who call themselves “very conservative,” leading Mr. Romney by six points and Mr. Santorum by 25 points. Romney leads Gingrich among the bloc of voters who describe themselves “as either somewhat conservative (44% to 34% for Gingrich) or moderate to liberal (44% to just 19% for Gingrich),” according to Monmouth University.

Sunshine state GOP voters also gave the thumbs up to Senator Marco Rubio, Florida Republican, as their first pick for the bottom of the presidential ticket. 2/3 of those polled believed that Mr. Rubio would be the strongest VP choice for the Republican presidential nominee.  “Both Romney voters (65%) and Gingrich voters (77%) say having Rubio in the number two slot would be a good idea,” Monmouth University Poll reports.