Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich sit atop the GOP presidential field, according to a new CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday that also shows businessman Herman Cain's support beginning to fade.
Romney leads Gingrich in the poll, 24 percent to 22 percent, a significant surge for Gingrich, who was at just 8 percent a month ago. Romney, meanwhile, has slid two points, down from 26 percent in mid-October.
Cain is in third place, but he has fallen to 14 percent from 25 percent a month ago.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is fourth, at 12 percent, ahead of Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, at 8 percent. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., was next, with 6 percent, ahead of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., who were each at 3 percent. Nine percent preferred another candidate, none of the candidates, or were undecided.
Romney leads Gingrich and Perry among those Republicans who identify as moderates. Romney is at 29 percent with moderates, compared to 16 percent each for Gingrich and Perry. But among the larger segment of the Republican electorate that identifies as conservative, Gingrich runs slightly ahead, with 26 percent, compared to 21 percent for Romney and 17 percent for Cain.
Romney remains the GOP's most viable general election candidate, according to the poll. He leads Obama among all registered voters, 51 percent to 47 percent, while Obama posts an 8-point lead over Gingrich, a 10-point lead over Cain, and a 7-point lead over Perry. Seven weeks ago, Obama and Romney were neck and neck.
The CNN poll was conducted Nov. 11-13 by ORC International. The poll surveyed 925 registered voters, for a margin of error of +/- 3.2 percent. For the Republican primary, 480 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents were surveyed; those results have a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.
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