Online Staff Report
According to a recent Bloomberg News poll, Republican presidential hopefuls Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck as the Jan. 3, 2012, Iowa caucuses approach.
The poll showed Cain at 20 percent, Paul at 19 percent, Romney at 18 percent and Gingrich at 17 percent.
Iowa’s caucuses are the first test in the primary election season. Although followed closely by the media and central to determining which candidates remain in the race, the only non-incumbent candidates to win their party’s caucus and go on to win the general election were George W. Bush in 2000 and Barack Obama in 2008. Neither Ronald Reagan nor Bill Clinton won in Iowa prior to their first terms.
The most recent national polls show Romney and Gingrich gaining steam and Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and U.S. Rep. Paul (R-Texas) dropping off.
A CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted Nov. 11-13 shows Romney in the lead with 24 percent, Gingrich second with 22 percent, Cain third with 14 percent, Perry fourth with 12 percent, Paul fifth with 8 percent, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) sixth with 6 percent, and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman tied for last with 3 percent.
Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, has consistently been atop the polls for months, although he has failed to break away from the pack.
Former Speaker of the House Gingrich has seen a jump of as much as 10 points in the polls since the beginning of November, largely the result of positive feedback to his performance in recent debates.
Cain, 65, a former frontrunner in the race and the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has been hampered by allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior made by at least two female employees who worked with Cain while he was the head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s.