The Gop Three-Way Contest — With Newt Gingrich First Among (Almost) Equals

November 18, 2011, 5:50 PM GMT+0

This week, the changing GOP contest for the Presidency has changed once again, into a tight three-way contest for the lead, and with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with an edge. The latest Economist/YouGov Poll was conducted following the two most recent Republican debates and in the wake of public appearances by some who allege businessman Herman Cain made unwanted sexual advances to them when he was the head of the National Restaurant Association.

Cain remains with the group at the top of the GOP field among registered voters who say they will vote in a Republican primary or caucus next year, but he is effectively tied with Gingrich and with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney near to the lead. Gingrich has improved his position dramatically in the last week. 

All other candidates are in single digits.

Gingrich’s support from women has nearly doubled in the last week — from 12% in last week’s poll to 22% today. Gingrich is the Tea Party favorite this week. As for GOP voters who do not identify with the Tea Party, Romney, Cain, and Gingrich are all competitive. 

Most GOP voters don’t believe the sexual harassment charges made against Herman Cain. 94% of Republican voters have heard of them, but by 47% to 21%, they believe he is not guilty — a sharply different response than from the public as a whole. 

By more than two to one, Republican voters say Cain is the victim of a smear campaign; and 47% say they would consider voting for a candidate against whom charges — like those made against Cain — had been made. Only 29% of all registered voters would.

None of the three frontrunners fares better than the others when it comes to next fall’s election: they all trail Obama by approximately the same margins. 

Economist/YouGov poll archives can found here.

Photo source: Press Association

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