Newt Gingrich is experiencing an incredible national surge according to Gallup’s polling. Gingrich has gone from being effectively tied with Mitt Romney for first place last month to now holding a 15 point lead over the rest of the field. From Gallup:

Next, I'm going to read a list of people who are running for the 2012 Republican nomination for president. After I read the names, please tell me which candidate you are most likely to support for the nomination, or if you would support someone else. November-December 2011 trend

Not only does Gingrich hold a substantial lead in the horse race, he also has a big lead among older GOP voters, which are the age group most likely to show up to vote. Among people over the age of 55 Gingrich gets 45 percent of the support compared to Romney at only 23 percent.

Gingrich now holds a big national lead and a big lead in three of the early states, Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. With less than a month until the first votes are cast, the Gingrich surge among GOP voters continues to grow.

Iowa Update:

A fifth Iowa poll in the past three days, this one from CBS News/New York Times (PDF), has also found Gingrich with a solid lead over all the other GOP candidates. From the New York Times:

Mr. Gingrich, whose presidential candidacy has steadily surged in recent weeks after a series of televised debates, won the support of 31 percent of Republicans and independents who say they will definitely or probably attend the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3.

His Republican rivals are trailing significantly, with 17 percent supporting former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, 16 percent backing Representative Ron Paul of Texas and 11 percent choosing Gov. Rick Perry of Texas. The rest of the party’s candidates are in single digits, with Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota at 9 percent and former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 4 percent.

All five recent Iowa polls had very similar results. They all show Gingrich with a clear lead. The all also find that Mitt Romney and Ron Paul are effectively tied for second.

The only small downside for Gingrich in what has otherwise been a torrent of great news over the past few days is that all these Iowa polls are sure to build up expectations for how well he’ll do in Iowa. At this point anything but a strong win for Gingrich in the Iowa caucus will probably be spun as a real setback for his candidacy.