Thursday, December 1, 2011

Newt Is The GOP's Newest Not-Romney Presidential Candidate

As Herman Cain ponders whether he will have to drop his bid for the GOP presidential nomination, and Rick Perry continues to stumble, Newt Gingrich find himself breaking away from the pack.

In the most recent national Quinnipiac University poll of 1,039 Republican primary voters conducted in mid-November Newt Gingrich leads (26 percent) second place Mitt Romney (22 percent), with Herman Cain trailing (14 percent) in third place. The other Republicans found support only in the mid to low single digits.

But in a later question about a hypothetical match-up between Gingrich and Romney, Cain supporters break for Gingrich over Romney by a 49 to 35 percent margin, with 16 percent uncertain, according to results provided to HuffPost by the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Among all Republicans, Gingrich tops Romney on the two-way match-up by a slightly narrower margin, 49 to 39 percent.

A just-released Economist/YouGov online survey of 326 likely Republican primary voters conducted Nov. 26-29 produced similar results.

The initial vote question shows Gingrich leading Romney by a slightly wider margin (25 to 17 percent) than the Quinnipiac University poll, with Cain running third (at 15 percent) and the other candidates receiving single digit support.

But the survey also asks Republicans for their second choices. When the vote preference is recalculated, reassigning Cain's supporters based on their second choices, Gingrich has an even wider lead over Romney (32 percent to 19 percent).

In other words, Cain's departure would increase Gingrich's support by 7 percentage points, but increase Romney's by only 2.

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