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New poll gives Romney 14-point lead in Florida primary

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has widened his lead to 14 points in Florida, according to a new poll released today by Quinnipiac University.

With Floridians heading to the polls tomorrow, the poll found Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, beating former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 43 percent to 29 percent. Romney’s lead has steadily increased over the last week.

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Texas Representative Ron Paul and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum lagged behind with 11 percent each.

The poll showed Romney performing well even among groups that have traditionally favored Gingrich. Tea Party activists said they would support Romney over Gingrich, 40 percent to 35 percent. White evangelical Christians would also favor Romney, 38 percent to 33 percent.

Conservatives had a more favorable view of Gingrich than moderates did, and men viewed Gingrich more favorably than women. The groups with the most favorable views of Romney were voters older than 65 and those with a college degree.

The poll of 539 likely Republican primary voters was conducted Jan. 27-29 and has a margin of error of 4.2 percent.

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at sschoenberg@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.
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