Newt Gingrich continues to expand his lead among likely Republican voters in Iowa and South Carolina, according to two new polls released Tuesday.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll of Iowa Republicans found that 33 percent of likely caucus-goers supported Gingrich -- nearly twice the number that supported Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, who had 18 percent each.
Rick Perry came in at 11 percent, followed by Michele Bachmann at 8 percent, Rick Santorum at 7 percent and Jon Huntsman at 2 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. Herman Cain had 4 percent support, but pollsters reallocated his supporters to their second-choice candidates when Cain dropped out of the race on Saturday.
Gingrich also did well on several more specific questions of appeal.
Iowans saw him as the most experienced of all the candidates by far: 43 percent picked him, compared to 16 percent for Romney and 13 percent for Paul. He was also seen as most likely to stand up for what he believes, most reflective of the core values of the Republican Party, and most understanding of the problems of people like you.
He fared poorly, however, on the question of honesty. Only 13 percent of likely Iowa voters thought Gingrich was the most honest and trustworthy of the candidates -- slightly better than Romney's 12 percent, but well behind Bachmann (17 percent) and Paul (23 percent).
Overall, despite Gingrich's wide lead, the race remained fluid, with 52 percent of likely voters saying they might change their mind before the Jan. 3 caucuses.
A Winthrop University poll in South Carolina showed similar results. Gingrich had the support of 38.4 percent of likely primary voters, while Romney had 21.5 percent. Perry finished third, but he had just 9 percent support.
Cain came in at 6.6 percent, and the pollsters did not redistribute his supporters to their second-choice candidates, which makes the results somewhat outdated given Cain's withdrawal. The poll also had a large margin of error: plus or minus 5.38 percentage points for the sample of likely Republican primary voters.
The big picture, however, is clear: Gingrich has solidified himself as the candidate to beat.