You can add Virginia to the list of states where Newt Gingrich has a huge lead in the Republican Presidential race. He's at 41% there to 15% for Mitt Romney with no one else in double digits. Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry at 8%, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul at 6%, Jon Huntsman at 3%, and Gary Johnson at 1% round out the field.
This poll continues a trend PPP is finding of total dominance for Gingrich in the South. Last week he led a North Carolina poll by 37 points over Romney and two weeks ago PPP found him up by 30 points in Florida. Surveys by other organizations have shown him with large leads in South Carolina and his native Georgia as well.
To have a lead this large requires broad support with the various different factions of the party, and Gingrich has it. For instance with Tea Party voters he leads Romney by 35 points, 46-11. But with non-Tea Party voters he's winning by almost as much, a 27 point margin at 43-16. He is also first with every gender and age group.
Virginia's a pretty good example of Romney's fading popularity. When PPP last polled the state in August his favorability was a +18 spread at 50/32. He's now dropped 12 points to only +6 at 46/40. Beyond that what was an 18% standing in the horse race has declined to its current 15% level. Certainly Gingrich is on fire right now but the other big story in the Republican race is that Romney isn't just standing in place any more- he's actually moving backward.
The other leading Republican contenders have seen their stature decline since August as well. Bachmann's favorability has declined 8 points from +12 at 46/34 to now +4 at 41/37. And Rick Perry's seen the biggest decline from +26 (44/18) to -6 (37/43) for a whooping 32 point move in the wrong direction.
If there is any hope for the rest of the GOP field it's that Gingrich's support does remain pretty soft, with only 42% of his voters firmly committed to while 58% say they could change their minds between now and the election. And the next in line is...Romney. 26% of Gingrich voters peg him as their second choice to 13% for Paul, 12% for Bachmann and Perry, and 11% for Santorum. A Newt collapse is seeming less and less inevitable with each passing week, but if it does eventually happen Romney is likely to move into the lead.
There continues to be very little appetite for a Tea Party challenge to George Allen in the Republican Senate race. 65% of primary voters think he's ideologically about 'right' and only 25% express support for a generic 'more conservative' alternative to him, compared to 53% think who he should be the party nominee. Against his actual opponents Allen gets 67% to 5% for Jamie Radtke, 3% for E.W. Jackson, and 2% each for Tim Donner and David McCormick. This is one GOP contest where there's just not a lot of desire for a challenger from the right.
Finally we took a very early look at the 2013 GOP primary for Governor and again find Ken Cuccinelli with a big early lead over Bill Bolling, 44-25. Both men are popular among Republican voters familiar with them but Cuccinelli is far better known with 73% of voters having an opinion about him to only 48% with one about Bolling. Cuccinelli is riding a huge advantage with Tea Party voters who favor him by 40 points, 58-18. Bolling leads by 25 points with moderates at 47-22, but there just aren't that many of them.
For what it's worth Huntsman and Romney supporters go for Bolling, while backers of Bachmann, Gingrich, Paul, Perry, and Santorum go for Cuccinelli. Obviously there is a long way to go in that race but there's no doubt who the front runner is.
Full results here