With the 2012 Iowa Republican caucuses on tap for Jan. 3, the GOP horserace is getting into full stride, with candidates jostling for position on the turn as the grueling season of debates wears on.
For Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, the CBS News/National Journal GOP debate Sunday on national security and foreign policy was a chance to reverse the growing perception that Mitt Romney has a lock on the nomination.
According to the CNN/ORC poll, which surveyed voters Nov. 11 - Nov. 13, Romney and Gringrich are now leading the race to the nomination. The former House speaker had a big bounce upward in the polls, going from 8 percent in early October to 22 percent this week, while Perry remained in the back of the pack.
Cain dropped from 25 percent to 14 percent in the last 30 days, due to the ongoing sexual harassment claim saga and his lack of mastery of foreign policy issues. Romney, who so far has been
to the CBS News/National Journal debate, showed Cain is in the lead at 18 percent, followed by Romney and Gingrich with 15 percent each, with Gingrich among the three picking up steam. The margin of error for the sample of Republican primary voters could be 5 percentage points. However, seven in 10 Republican primary voters in the CBS News poll said it was too soon to declare which candidate they would support.
State polling in Iowa among potential Republican voters, surveyed between Nov. 10 - Nov. 12, shows Cain leading by a thin margin. A Bloomberg News poll of Iowans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Republican presidential caucuses, had Cain as the frontrunner with 20 percent, followed by Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent.
While Cain, Paul, Romney and Gingrich are bunched up in this poll, 60 percent of those surveyed indicated that they could switch candidates and 10 percent were undecided.
The oddsmakers are betting heavily on Romney. Intrade gives the former Massachusetts governor a 69.9 percent chance of taking the nomination. But the race is just rounding the first turn, and a lot can happen between now and the finish line.