(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tops a new survey released Friday with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich besting businessman Herman Cain for the second spot, though Cain is close behind.
But only three in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they strongly support their candidate and the percentage of those who say they're undecided on their vote is that same as those who would vote for Cain.
Nearly one-quarter of those surveyed in the McClatchy-Marist Poll say they would back Romney while Gingrich has leapfrogged Cain for second with 19% support. The conservative former radio talk show host is close behind with 17% saying they'd vote for him if the 2012 Republican primary or caucus were held in their state today. But 17% of those polled say they remain undecided about the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
The slim margin separating those four choices falls within the poll's sampling error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points, indicating the top three candidates are tied.
Amid accusations of sexual harassment, Cain still is among the top three candidates in the poll taken entirely after the news of the allegations broke. And almost seven in 10 Republicans said they didn't want Cain to drop out of the race, although 34% believe he did something unethical, though not illegal.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul took fourth place at 10%, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 8% and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at 5% in sixth place. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum were tied with 1% support.
Although 30% said they strongly support their candidate, a number unchanged since September, almost four in 10 said they were "somewhat" supportive and 31% said they could still change their mind.
And loyalty varies among the top three: Roughly four in 10 Gingrich supporters were firmly committed to their choice, but 31% of Cain backers said the same. Thirty percent of Romney supporters said they're firmly committed as well.
The McClatchy-Marist Poll was conducted by telephone among 1,072 adults including 827 registered voters and 347 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents combined. It has an overall sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.