(Photo: REUTERS / Rebecca Cook)
The GOP presidential nomination has come down to three candidates vying for the party’s approval: Herman Cain, Mitt Romney, and Newt Gingrich. While Mitt Romney has been a long-time front-runner candidate, Cain and Gingrich have just recently risen to the top after initially being thought of as long-shot candidates.
CBS News released a poll Friday morning revealing that despite allegations of sexual assault, Cain is in the lead with 18 percent approval rating among likely Republican primary voters. Romney and Gingrich are tied for second place with 15 percentage points.
While the poll indicates that these three are the front-runners, none can breathe a sigh of relief just yet. Approximately 7 in 10 likely Republican voters say it is still too early to say for sure which candidate they will support. Therefore, all three will have to work hard to cement his place in the polls.
Gingrich’s numbers are the only one of the three going in the right direction: up. Both Romney and Cain have recently dropped in the polls.
Cain has recently been accused of sexually assaulting five women during his tenure as the CEO of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.
He denies the allegations. Still, his numbers have seen a drop in the past two weeks as a whole, particularly among conservative women. In late October, Cain enjoyed a 28 percentage approval rating from Republican females. But now that the allegations have been public for approximately two weeks, that number has dwindled to 15. Overall, his numbers from the end of October have dropped 7 percent, with only a one percent drop among male Republican voters.
Considering the seriousness of the allegations, it may come as a surprise to some that 61 percent of Republican voters say that the allegations make no difference in their decision of whether or not to support Cain.
A recent Quinnipiac University poll also shows Cain doing well in Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. All three are key swing states.
Sharing Cain’s slight drop in numbers, Romney has seen a six percent decrease in support from likely GOP primary voters since the end of October.
Throughout the entire campaign Romney’s support has hovered between 15 and 18 percentage points, on average, so this drop likely does not have any political significance.
Gingrich is chugging along, slowly rising in the polls. At the end of October, according to the CBS poll, he had just a 10 percent approval rating among likely GOP primary voters. Currently, that support is at 15 percent.
Gingrich had a rough go on the campaign trail in May when his entire campaign staff quit. Political pundits told him that his bid was over and that he should give up. However, if his numbers continue to rise, Gingrich’s perseverance may pay off in the end.
“Newt is the best choice. He is easily the most intelligent candidate on the (debate) stage. No matter what the question is, he always knocks it out of the park. We need a candidate who can beat Obama in 2012 and I believe Newt can do that,” Judson Phillips, president of Tea Party Nation, told The Christian Post.
“No candidate is perfect. But Newt will advance the conservative agenda once he is in power. His track record has proven that.”
The CBS poll was conducted by telephone Nov. 6-10, 2011, among 1,182 adults nationwide with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.