(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.
Poll: Three-way battle for GOP nomination
Gingrich: Not running for 'super governor'
Bachmann: Protesters were 'ignorant' and 'disrespectful'
Hey GOPtee-baggers. Your lame game of blame doesn't make any sense in the real world.
When you pull the fox/hate radio talking points out of your butt and spew them out to the thinking majority it just sounds confused and delusional. We don't follow that crap.
Like very few people in the real world know who Geo Soros is let alone how much the O'insHannity clan at fox uses him to promote fear & hate – it just sounds weak when you make him out to be like some kind of Cheney or Rove character. And the Obama is a Muslim thing is so overplayed – it really is desperate on your part.
I thought Ron Paul was crazy, but when you listen to what he has to say... it turns out He's the best candidate we can vote for. Just what "Ron Paul – What if" on YT, men, he's amazing. And he says the same stuff for 30 years. He really cares about this country. GOD BLESS RON PAUL. Amen.
It appears history has come full circle 1781 president raise is back with same result. Bless.
"If the economic situation doean't change drastically, Obama can be defeated by Romney. Gingrich, and perhaps Cain. Bank on it."
Thank you for concisely admitting the reason the GOP/Teatrolls have adamantly refused to do anything to help the economy.
It's looking like a write-in canidate is going to win the Republican nomination. My prediction is Joe the Plumber
Being a life-long voter in Massachusetts, all I can saw aboyt Romney is this: he's a FRAUD! He was elected to one term, served two years of that 4-year term, left after two years to campaign in Iowa (2006), and never came back. His legislative productivity was the lowest for any governor in decades. He bullied his way into the MA GOP nomination for Governor by crudely "taking out" acting Governor, Jane Swift, the only female governor in MA history. If Iowa, or any other red state territory, wants him, they can have him: good riddance to an insincere, phoney, double-talking, self-serving hypocrite. If elected, your head will get crazy dizzy watching how fast he'll outsource American jobs to India and Indonesia; how fast he'll propell banks to add loads of fees bogus services; and how fast he'll give right-wing extremists their say in cominalizing the rational pursuit of responsible medical science.
"I thought Ron Paul was crazy, but when you listen to what he has to say... it turns out He's the best candidate we can vote for."
I thought Ron Paul was crazy, but when you listen to what he has to say... it turns out he's nut just crazy, but dangerous.
President Romney or President Gingrich, either one will do. As long as the current dolt is thrown out. The MSM convinced America in 2008 that experience didn't matter, only good teleprompter speeches. The American people will not be Obamboozled again. The socialist is out of the bag....
"Keep your eyes on Newt..."
That's what the store clerks say whenever he walks in a Tiffany's.
I have a sad thing to say. I think Bush had more intelligence that this idiot? Very SAD!
Flavor of November is Mitt.
Nathan has a point – 27% of the population habitually watches fox media and have no idea how dumbed down they are – they actually think this Gingeritch is "smart" – even after seeing him bloviate about how "right" he says he is. Many Americans are so absorbed in paying bills and keeping their job and therefore home – they don't have much time to watch debates. Yes liberals & progressives would appreciate the debate – but the "1%" couldn't sell their cheap plastic crap or bonner pills to the libs/progessives so they wouldn't t let their TV stations carry it anyway.
I was thinking more of scrapping the nasty stuff off the "bottom of the barrel" that nobody wants – that's what Romney is on top of.
Clearly a large percentage of the the Repubs agree with the "nobody wants" part.
Good, we're taking out the black republican. No black republican for us.. He should learn that it is his duty to be a democrat. Serves him right.