Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged into second place in the Republican presidential race in a new McClatchy-Marist poll
that also shows former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney retaking the lead and former businessman Herman Cain falling to third.
The poll of 347 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents found Romney at 23 percent, Gingrich at 19, and Cain, 17 percent.
“Clearly this race has taken yet another dramatic turn. The top tier has gotten more crowded,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College in New York, which conducted the poll Tuesday through Thursday.
“The poll . . . signaled that Romney retains his steady if uncommanding position and that, in the quest by most Republicans for an alternative, they’ve cooled on Cain and are turning to Gingrich,” McClatchy reported. “It's the first national survey taken entirely since the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain erupted into a full political firestorm” last week.
“Romney is still where he’s been. It’s fair to say this is a battle for the anybody-but-Romney candidate," Miringoff said. "Gingrich has now begun his 15 days of fame. Whether he is able to maintain that, as others have fallen, is the question. He may be the only one standing when this is all said and done.”
Here’s how other candidates fared in the poll:
- Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, 10 percent
- Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, 8 percent
- Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, 5 percent
- Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, 1 percent
- Former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah, 1 percent.
Another 17 percent reported that they are undecided.
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