In a somewhat unexpected development, GOP presidential contender Newt Gingrich is now gaining momentum as two newly released national polls — one from CBS and one from McClatchy-Marist — shows the former House Speaker surging ahead to second place.
In the CBS poll, Gingrich is tied with Mitt Romney for second place behind Herman Cain. The McClatchy-Marist poll, on the other hand, places Romney in the lead with 23 percent, and Gingrich close behind with 19 percent while Cain trails with 17 percent.
The field of Republican candidates now has three candidates within striking distance of each other at the top of the list: with 18 percent, Herman Cain is in the top spot, followed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich with 15% each. Support for both Cain and Romney has declined since late last month, and Gingrich is the only one of the top three whose support is steadily – if slowly – on the upswing.
The CBS poll of 382 GOP primary voters was taken Nov. 6-10. It had a margin of error of 5 percentage points. The McClatchy poll of 347 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents was taken Nov. 8-10. The margin of error was 5.5 percentage points.
In the CBS poll 61 percent of Republican voters say the sexual harassment allegations against Cain won’t make any difference in their vote, while 30 percent say the harassment charges have made them abandon support for Cain. The poll reveals that Cain has lost support among women since October, dipping from 28 percent to just 15 percent now.
According to Fox News, analysts have been suggesting for weeks that Gingrich could be well-positioned for a surge.
Who will take the nomination is anyone’s guess as seven in 10 Republican voters remain undecided, but it is perhaps worth noting that both polls were conducted after the allegations of sexual harassment against Cain made national airwaves.