Republican voters are warming to Mitt Romney, who has stormed back to tie Newt Gingrich for the GOP presidential nomination, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released on Monday.
Gingrich and Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, are the coleaders, with each drawing 28 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents surveyed. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is a solid third with 14 percent. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., is at 8 percent, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 7 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., at 4 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 2 percent.
The poll is the first survey that CNN has conducted in nearly a month, when it found Gingrich with a narrow, 4-point lead over Romney. That poll also included beleaguered businessman Herman Cain, who suspended his campaign amid numerous sexual-harassment allegations.
In the previous poll, Gingrich garnered the support of 31 percent of tea party supporters; now, he is at 32 percent among that group. But among those Republicans who describe themselves as moderates, Gingrich is at just 16 percent, trailing Romney (35 percent) and Paul (21 percent).
Although Gingrich has gained in electability--Republicans are split when asked which candidate is most likely to win the GOP nomination and which candidate has the best chance to beat President Obama--Republican voters are increasingly confident that Romney's priorities reflect what is important to them. Asked whom they are most likely to agree with on the issues that matter most, 23 percent say Romney, while 22 percent say Gingrich. In mid-November, 25 percent said Gingrich, and only 16 percent said Romney.
Twenty-one percent of conservative voters, and 22 percent of tea party supporters, pick Romney as the candidate with whom they are most likely to agree. In mid-November, just 13 percent of conservatives and 11 percent of tea party supporters, chose Romney.
The CNN/ORC International poll was conducted Dec. 16-18, surveying 436 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. The margin of error is +/- 4.7 percentage points.