Tortoise on the march: Gingrich surges to near front-runner status

Will Rahn Senior Editor
Font Size:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged to a second-place tie with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in a new CBS poll released Friday.

Gingrich and Romney each have the support of 15 percent of Republican primary voters nationwide, the poll finds. Businessman Herman Cain still leads the GOP field with 18-percent support, a difference within the margin of error, indicating that the race has essentially become a three-way dead heat. (SEE ALSO: Complete coverage of Newt Gingrich’s run for the White House)

While both candidates trail Cain by a narrow margin, 30 percent of GOP primary voters say they are less likely to support the former pizza mogul in light of his sexual harassment scandal. Support for Cain and Romney has dipped, the poll finds, while support for Gingrich is on a slow but steady rise.

Months after his campaign was written off as stalled and impractical, Gingrich has made an impressive comeback after a series of strong debate performances, and has taken to describing the race as something out of Aesop’s Fables.

“The bunny rabbit runs by and falls asleep,” he said recently. “The tortoise just keeps coming. So hopefully in this game, Mitt Romney will be the bunny rabbit and I’ll be the tortoise. That would all work out perfectly.”

The poll was conducted November 6–10 among 382 Republican primary voters. The margin of error for the sample is +/- 5 percentage points.

Follow Will on Twitter