Poll: Gingrich jumps to second place, Cain drops to third while Romney leads

Newt Gingrich has jumped to second place and Herman Cain has dropped to third among Republican voters' preferences for which candidate should win the GOP presidential nomination, according to a new poll.

According to the McClatchy-Marist Poll, Mitt Romney leads the Republican pack with 23 percent. Gingrich is next with 19 percent, followed by Cain with 17 percent.

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Ron Paul follows with 10 percent; the rest of the Republican field fails to hit double digits. The poll also found that a fairly substantial portion of voters — 17 percent — are still undecided on which candidate they want to win the nomination.

This the first significant drop for Cain since the reports broke about allegations that he sexually harassed a number of women while serving as president of the National Restaurant Association in the '90s. It also indicates that Gingrich is picking up some of those voters cooling to Cain.

"Romney is still where he's been. It’s fair to say this is a battle for the anybody-but-Romney candidate. Gingrich has now begun his 15 days of fame. Whether he is able to maintain that, as others have fallen, is the question. He may be the only one standing when this is all said and done," Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion at Marist College, told McClatchy.

The poll found that 29 percent don't believe Cain did "anything wrong," while 34 percent believe Cain did something unethical. The McClatchy-Marist poll found that 69 percent of Republicans and right-leaning independents actually don't believe Cain should drop out of the race.

The poll was conducted from Nov. 8-10 and polled 1,026 adults. The margin of error among Republicans and right-leaning independents is plus or minus 5.5 percentage points. 


— This post was updated at 11:09 a.m.