A second poll released on Friday morning shows former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has joined Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in the top tier of Republican presidential candidates.
The new McClatchy-Marist poll shows Romney leading Gingrich 23 percent to 19 percent, well within the poll's 5.3 percent margin of error. Cain is a close third, at 17 percent. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is at 10 percent, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with 8 percent.
Gingrich's supporters are more committed to him than Romney's or Cain's. Forty-three percent of respondents who said they would back Gingrich describe themselves as firmly committed to their choice. Just 31 percent of Cain supporters and 30 percent of Romney supporters say they are firmly behind their candidate.
The poll included questions about the sexual harassment allegations against Cain. Just 22 percent of Republicans think Cain should drop out of the race for president, while 69 percent think he should not drop out. A plurality, 47 percent, think the accusations "are being made just to ruin his reputation," while 28 percent think the accusations "are based on something that happened."
The poll was conducted Nov. 8-10 by Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. The poll surveyed 347 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Another major poll, by CBS News, released on Friday showed Romney, Gingrich, and Cain in a statistical tie for first place.
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