Months after his Republican presidential campaign nearly collapsed, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken a commanding lead in statewide polls.
Wednesday, one was released by Public Policy Polling that showed Gingrich with a 47-17 lead over Mitt Romney, the man long-thought to be the front-runner.
Retired from the trucking business, Bob Abrams likes nothing more than spending time with his wife, enjoying Boca Raton, and watching the Republican candidates jockey to run against President Obama.
"They're all very capable people," said Abrams.
But in his mind, one has emerged.
On January 31st, when Florida holds a crucial Republican primary, he'll vote for the former House Speaker.
"My opinion of him now is better than it was before," said Abrams.
Pollsters say that it's seniors like Abrams - who remember Gingrich's 1994 contract with America - that are fueling Gingrich's rise.
54 percent of Florida seniors in PPP's survey supported Gingrich, and Gingrich led front-runner Mitt Romney by thirty points.
Palm Beach's GOP chair says it's been the debates, watched closely by seniors, that have caught their attention.
"After every debate, everyone says, God, he's so smart, it's too bad he can't win," said Sid Dinerstein.
Political analyst Robert Watson says it'll come down to whether Gingrich can overcome the stronger campaign organization and bank account that Mitt Romney has.
If not, Watson says Newt will be just another GOP flash-in-the-pan.
"A year ago, Sarah Palin was number one in the polls, and she tanked," said Watson. "Then Donald Trump was number one and he tanked. Then Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry and Herman Cain all took their turns at the top and tanked."
Watson says Gingrich has baggage that could ultimately turn off base Republican voters.
Gingrich has accepted money from government mortgage lenders and has admitted to several extramarital affairs.
Abrams has a sense of humor when he explains why he's voting on issues.
"I'm on my third marriage also," said Abrams.
Just two months ago, Gingrich came in sixth in the Florida Straw Poll.
But to have staying power this time, Watson says nothing will help like a second-place finish in Iowa, which is just a month away.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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