Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose campaign was left for dead months ago by many, is surging in South Carolina.
Gingrich has filled the void created by failing support of Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry and former Gov. Mitt Romney to take the No. 2 spot in a new poll out Friday from Insider Advantage. Businessman Herman Cain, despite allegations of sexual harrassment, still leads S.C. polling with 26 percent.
Gingrich has risen to 19 percent support, according to the poll, while Romney fell to third at 16 percent.
The poll, conducted Tuesday of 457 likely Republican voters across the state, continues a big month for Gingrich. And comes out just as the field visits South Carolina to take part in the first nationally televised debate of the season, live from Wofford College in Spartanburg at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The former House Speaker was fifth, with single-digit support, in a CNN/Time poll conducted the third week of October. A Rasmussen Reports poll in the first week of November showed Gingrich at 15 percent support, and in third place behind Cain and Romney. Now, he's moved into second, with Cain's lead tenuous as the he-said, she-saids continue to fly.
The move comes as little surprise to influential conservatives across South Carolina. In this week's Huffington Post/ Patch Power Outsiders poll, Republicans across the four early nominating states said they agree with Gingrich on many of the issues.
The HuffPo/Patch polling results were even stronger for Gingrich in South Carolina, where conservatives said they felt like Gingrich best represented what they wanted in leadership and experience and in issues including taxes, healthcare, immigration and foreign policy.
Romney and Gingrich tied for the top support on dealing with the economy. Only in abortion did South Carolina influential conservatives say he did not represent their views.
Gingrich has recently boosted his South Carolina effort, adding staffers and planning Saturday's opening of his state headquarters in Greenville. Romney, meanwhile, has made few stops in the state and has no office.