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Herman Cain Falls in the Polls While Newt Gingrich Rises

November 13, 2011 - 6:00pm

While businessman Herman Cain was soaring in the polls after his upset win in the Presidency 5 straw poll in Orlando back in September, three new polls show he is losing ground in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich is gaining momentum.

A national CNN/ORC poll released on Monday found Cain moving back from almost tied at the head of the pack with former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts to placing a distant third. Romney tops the new poll with 24 percent followed by Gingrich in strong second with 22 percent. Cain follows with 14 percent while Gov. Rick Perry of Texas places fourth with 12 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas comes in fifth with 8 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota with 6 percent.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and former Gov. Jon Huntsman of Utah trail with 3 percent apiece.

In a CNN/ORC poll from October, Romney led with 26 percent followed by Cain with 25 percent. Perry took third with 13 percent followed by Paul with 9 percent and Gingrich in fifth place with 8 percent.

Gingrich is helped in the CNN/ORC poll by his standing with Republican voters. Sixty-one percent of the Republicans surveyed view the former congressional leader favorably while 21 percent view him unfavorably. Romney is the only other candidate who breaks 50 percent favorability with Republican voters, with 55 percent viewing him with favor and 27 percent seeing him unfavorably.

Forty-seven percent see Cain as favorable and 31 percent as unfavorable. Forty-three percent view Perry as favorable, but he draws the highest number of Republicans who view him as unfavorable -- 37 percent. Forty-one percent see Bachmann as favorable while 33 percent see her as unfavorable. Forty percent see Paul as favorable and 32 percent view the Texas congressman as unfavorable. Thirty percent view Santorum in a favorable light but 22 percent see him as unfavorable. Huntsman is the most unknown candidate with 19 percent seeing him as favorable and 22 percent as unfavorable.

The survey of 480 Republicans and GOP-leaning independents -- part of a larger sample of 1,036 American adults and 925 registered voters, was taken Nov. 11-13 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.5 percent.

Gingrich has moved up to take the lead in a national Public Policy Polling poll released on Monday. PPP has ties to prominent Democrats.

In the PPP poll, Gingrich leads the pack with 28 percentfollowed by Cain with 25 percent and Romney in third with 18 percent. The rest of the pack trails in single digits in the poll. Perry takes fourth with 6 percent, followed by Bachmann and Paul with 5 percent each, Huntsman takes 3 percent and Santorum and former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico lag with 1 percent each.

Newt Gingrich has been rising steadily over the last two months and now leads the Republican field nationally, said Dean Debnam, the president of PPP. The top has proven to be a dangerous place in this GOP race, though, and well see if he can sustain it for very long.

Just as he had in the CNN/ORC poll, in the PPP survey Gingrich is seen as favorable by more Republicans than any of his primary rivals. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed view the former congressional leader with favor while 23 percent see him as unfavorable. A majority see Cain as favorable -- 57 percent -- while 31 percent see him as unfavorable. Romney does not do as well in the PPP poll -- 48 percent see him as favorable while 39 percent view him in an unfavorable light.

Three of the other candidates are upside down in the PPP poll. Forty-one percent view Bachmann as unfavorable while 40 percent view her as favorable. Forty-nine percent see Perry as unfavorable while 35 percent view the Lone Star State governor as favorable. A majority of Republicans surveyed -- 52 percent -- see Paul as unfavorable while only 31 percent see him as favorable.

The PPP poll of 576 Republican primary voters was taken Nov. 10-13 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.1 percent.

A poll released on Monday found that Gingrich is also surging in Iowa, home of the first presidential caucus. Republican pollster the Polling Company released a poll of the first caucus state that found Cain leading by the skin of his teeth with 20 percent followed by Gingrich with 19 percent. The poll found the Hawkeye State is up for grabs -- three of the other Republcian hopefuls also broke in double digits. Romney took third in Iowa with 14 percent while Paul and Bachmann garnered 10 percent each. The other candidates trailed, taking 5 percent or less.

The poll of 501 likely Iowa Republican caucus voters was taken from Nov. 11-13 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.4 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at or at (850) 727-0859.

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