Poll: Gingrich, Romney tied at top of GOP race

With only 18 days left until the Iowa caucuses, the candidates for the GOP presidential nomination are ramping up their campaigns. Russ Mitchell speaks with CBS News chief Washington correspondent and host of the "Face the Nation" Bob Schieffer for more on the Republican race. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, left, and Newt Gingrich participate in a televised debate.
CBS

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich are tied at the top of the Republican pack to win their party's presidential nomination, each with 20 percent of GOP primary voters' support, according to the latest CBS News Poll.

Ron Paul takes the third spot with 10 percent, while the remaining candidates enter the holiday period languishing in the single digits.

Just last month, Herman Cain was the top choice of Republican primary voters, but Gingrich and Romney have battled for first place since Cain abandoned the race amid allegations of sexual impropriety.

CBS News Poll

With the campaign in full swing, neither of the frontrunners is likely to ease off the attack on their fellow Republican challengers, or on President Obama, and the poll suggests they'll need to continue applying pressure.

Of those surveyed, an overwhelming 79 percent said it was still to early to declare their minds made up on whom to support.

Others Republican primary voters - 17 percent according to the poll - remain completely undecided as to which candidate they will support, and another 19 percent said they'd like to have more options.

The poll shows that Gingrich and Romney receive their support from different factions of the Republican primary electorate.

Gingrich leads among self-identified conservatives and Republican primary voters who support the Tea Party movement, while Romney has the advantage with non-Tea Party supporters and moderates - but less than a third of Republican primary voters call themselves moderates.

Read the complete poll (PDF)
Special report: Election 2012


This poll was conducted by telephone from December 14-18, 2011 among 992 adults nationwide. 893 interviews were conducted with registered voters and 291 with voters who said they plan to vote in a Republican primary. Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters could be plus or minus three points and six points for the sample of Republican primary voters. The error for subgroups may be higher. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

  • Tucker Reals

    Tucker Reals is the CBSNews.com foreign editor, based at the CBS News London bureau.

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