We now have another major national poll confirming Newt Gingrich is currently leading the Republican field. A recent Quinnipiac poll found that Gingrich leads among national Republican and Republican leaning independents with 26 percent of the vote followed by Mitt Romney at 22 percent and Herman Cain at 14 percent. Gingrich is now officially the front runner. From Quinnipiac:
|2. (If Republican or Republican Leaner) If the 2012 Republican primary for President were being held today, and the candidates were Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, Jon Huntsman, and Herman Cain, for whom would you vote?|
REPUBLICANS/REPUBLICAN LEANERS.................... Tot Men Wom Con Mod Perry 6% 6% 6% 6% 6% Gingrich 26 29 23 30 17 Romney 22 21 23 21 28 Bachmann 4 3 5 3 5 Santorum 2 2 1 2 1 Paul 6 6 6 5 8 Huntsman 2 2 1 1 3 Cain 14 13 15 16 10 DK/NA 19 17 21 17 23
Besides confirming the general pattern that Cain is falling hard and Gingrich is surging, this Quinnipiac poll asked voters about theoretical match ups once the Republican field starts to narrow.
The poll found that if the race was narrowed to just Romney and Gingrich after the first few early contests, Gingrich would beat Romney in a head to head match up by a margin 0f 49-39 percent. For the time being, at least, it appears that Gingrich is able to rally the not-Romney voters around him. That is something past not-Romney candidates like Perry and Cain had trouble doing.
Despite Gingrich leading in the GOP primary, Romney still manages to be seen as by far the most electable potential nominee. In a general election match up Obama and Romney are effectively tied, Romney 44 – Obama 45. On the other hand, Obama has a large lead over Gingrich and Cain: Obama 49 – Gingrich 40 and Obama 50 – Cain 37. Being the only GOP candidate in the field with a good chance of being able to beat Obama is still Romney’s best and most powerful selling point.