The president of the influential Christian organisation Family Leader has said Republican candidate Mitt Romney "will not be the eventual nominee" despite leading the polls for the nomination.

Bob Vander Plaats told the International Business Times UK that 75-80 percent of Republicans across the US do not want Romney. "The only reason why he is ahead is because there hasn't been a real alternative," said Vander Plaats. "But now it looks like Gingrich is going to be that person."

Vander Plaats, who initially endorsed former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, carries significant political clout within the Republican Party.

He said: "When I endorsed Santorum in December he was on five percent. He ended up winning the Iowa caucus."

But with Santorum now looking shakier and Gingrich rising in the polls, Plaats said he would how endorse his close friend for the nomination.

"I would full-heartedly endorse Gingrich [if Santorum were to drop out]," he said. "He has been a good and loyal friend to me throughout the years."

Vander Plaats saw the ABC interview with Gingrich's ex-wife as a "hit piece" by the network and rigorously defended Gingrich against the accusations.

"For the people of faith, we base it on the centrepiece of forgiveness," said Vander Plaats. "We've all fallen and none of us are perfect.

"Our faith is concerned not where you start but where you end up. Newt has been very transparent that he has fallen on his knees before God, asked for his forgiveness."

Vander Plaats claimed that his endorsement and that of others within the Christian faith would "not just win the nominee for the party, but for President of the United Sates".