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Romney battles desperately to stabilise presidential campaign

Tampa, Tue, 24 Jan 2012 ANI

Tampa (Florida US), Jan.24 (ANI): Former Massachusetts Governor and Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney is reportedly fighting desperately to stabilise his US presidential campaign.


The move to save his campaign comes after two new polls showed him trailing former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich by up to 10 points in Florida, the next Republican primary voting state.


Last night, a Rasmussen poll put Gingrich on 41 per cent and Romney on 32 percent, while Insider Advantage, which has tended to overstate Gingrich's support, placed the former speaker on 34.4 per cent and Romney on 25.6 per cent.


The depth of the slide was emphasised by the latest polls in Florida where a week ago a CCN/Time poll put Romney 24 points clear.


But now, according to The Telegraph, Romney's support is plummeting after his shock defeat in the South Carolina primary last weekend, and he trails conservative rival Gingrich in a state where he was leading comfortably only a week ago.


The new polls appeared to end any hope in the Romney camp that their candidate's drubbing in South Carolina at the hands of a resurgent Gingrich and a newly energised Republican conservative base would prove a temporary aberration.


"These numbers are significant," Frank Luntz, an influential Republican Party pollster and strategist told The Daily Telegraph.


He added: "It's not panic stations quite yet, but this is worrying for Romney."


"The desire to replace Barack Obama is so great that voters want someone who can debate Obama and win, and Newt [Gingrich] is saying he's that man," Luntz said.


The Romney campaign moved to a full frontal attack on Gingrich.


Addressing a rally in Ormond Beach, Florida, on Sunday night, Romney delivered his most explicit attack on Gingrich, describing him as a failed and disgraced leader of the past.


Romney also told reporters on Monday that Gingrich was "highly erratic" and had "gone from pillar to post almost like a pinball machine".


His attacks also focused on Gingrich's consultancy role with the failed US mortgage giant Freddie Mac for which he was paid 1.6 million dollars in fees, a potentially damaging point in Florida, a state which has been hard hit by the slump in the US housing market.


A visibly unbowed Gingrich accused Romney of "deliberately saying things he knows are false", and deny that he lobbied for Freddie Mac and promising to release details of his contract with them.


Luntz concluded that "Romney badly needs to connect in the debates," in spite of being the best-behaved candidate. (ANI)


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