The numbers could indicate that Gingrich’s aggressive strategy – which has included controversial attacks on Mitt Romney’s business and abortion records – is gaining him traction by hurting the GOP frontrunner.

In the three other major South Carolina polls completed in the new year, Romney was earning 37 percent, 27 percent, and 30 percent, according to Real Clear Politics – meaning his 23 percent in the latest poll marks a precipitous decline.

Gingrich, meanwhile, has maintained a steady band of support between 18 and 23 percent.