Roller coaster continues: Mitt up by 9 in Florida

If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium. But it’s actually Friday, so it must still be Florida. And with another day we get another fresh round of polling showing one of two things: either the good citizens of Florida are prone to fits of multiple personality disorder or the pollsters are just having some fun with us. Close on the heels of Romney being up, then Newt being up, then it being essentially a tie, then trending back in Romney’s favor, Quinnipiac tells us that Mitt is surging back into the lead.

Just four days before the nation’s first big-state presidential primary,former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney opens up a 38 – 29 percent lead over former House Speaker Newt Gingrich among Republican likely voters in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University poll taken Wednesday and released today. Only 6 percent are undecided, but 32 percent say they might change their mind by Tuesday.

This compares to results of a January 25 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University, showing Romney with 36 percent of likely primary voters to Gingrich’s 34 percent. Wednesday’s survey showed Gingrich ahead 40 – 34 percent among voters surveyed after the South Carolina primary.

Ron Paul takes the bronze medal with 14% and Rick Santorum is bringing up the rear at 12. These results are looking more solid, though, given that the numbers match up pretty well with this poll from VSS which gives the nod to Mitt over Newt 40 to 31.

As previously noted, this does seem to be in keeping with the most recent trend, but the changes have been rapid. In the demographics department, the big shift here is along gender lines. Men, who were backing Newt 37 to 33 in a similar poll only 48 hours earlier, now line up in favor of Mitt 36 to 29 against Gingrich. Romney’s favorability numbers are back up also, rising to a 60 to 28 break point.

The first release didn’t include the full cross-tabs (though I’m sure Ed will get them before long) but since the two data points we’re looking at both come from the same polling firm, they’re probably similar. This is a rapid and rather dramatic shift, but it does continue the most recent trend. After dipping in the polls following Gingrich’s strong showing in South Carolina, Mitt seems to be clawing his way back up. Last night’s debate probably won’t change that much either, given most of the buzz I’m seeing about Newt mostly falling flat. Four days to go… hang on to your hats!