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Newt Gingrich wouldn't beat Obama in 2012, new poll shows

Newt Gingrich would do worse than Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential election, says a new Reuters-Ipsos poll. But Mitt Romney wouldn't beat Obama either.

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich gestures during debate in Manchester, N.H.

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

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Newt Gingrich  holds a 10-point lead in the fight for the Republican presidential nomination, but he would fare worse against President Barack Obama than Republican Mitt Romney, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

With the first nominating contest in Iowa less than three weeks away, Gingrich leads Romney among Republican voters nationwide by 28 percent to 18 percent, the poll found.

However, the poll raises questions about whether Gingrich -- a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives who has shot to the top of Republican opinion polls in recent weeks -- would be able to defeat Obama.

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The poll found that if the November 2012 presidential election were held today, Obama would defeat Gingrich, 51 percent to 38 percent. By contrast, Obama would defeat Romney by a narrower margin, 48 percent to 40 percent.

Analysts say the results reflect the risk that Republicans could face if they nominate Gingrich, whose strong performances in debates have won him support among conservatives seeking an alternative to Romney.

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