Cain exit sparks Gingrich poll surge in Republican race for the White House

Former House Speaker now leads favourite Romney in key states


Newt Gingrich, whose career seemed dead and buried just weeks ago, has capitalised on Herman Cain's exit to establish a huge lead in the early voting states that could decide the Republican White House race.

A poll in The Washington Post yesterday put him 15 points ahead of Mitt Romney, the nominal front-runner whose victory has been seen as a given by political analysts.

Mr Gingrich has similarly large leads in two of the other three states that hold presidential primaries next month and is steadily closing the gap in the fourth – Mr Romney's once-impregnable stronghold of New Hampshire.

The stunning rise of the former House Speaker has banished any chance that the demise of Mr Cain, who effectively ended his bid at the weekend, would see support reluctantly rally around Mr Romney.

Instead, Mr Gingrich has seized the momentum in Iowa ahead of the January 3 caucus that kicks off the primary season.

The Washington Post/ABC poll gave him 33 per cent support among likely caucus voters in Iowa, with Mr Romney and Texas congressman Ron Paul both on 18 per cent.

Mr Gingrich has a similar 15-point lead in South Carolina, where Texas governor Rick Perry is third.

In Florida, where Mr Cain was strong, Mr Gingrich has a 25-point gap on Mr Romney, while the latter's once-massive lead in New Hampshire has been halved to around 15 points.

Moreover, Mr Gringrich may soon be endorsed by Mr Cain, a friend and fellow Georgian.

The turnaround in his fortunes reflects not just activists' dissatisfaction with Mr Romney but also a string of solid debate performances in which the veteran Washington politician has shown fluency on the issues and much less arrogance than in the past.

His priorities have changed as well. With his support now soaring, Mr Gingrich now needs the money and organisation to match.

On Monday he was not in Iowa or New Hampshire but in Manhattan for fundraisers with wealthy donors, and the now obligatory call on Donald Trump – mogul, reality TV host, and seeming svengali of Republican presidential politics.

That last function appals several party strategists, who note that Mr Trump – a leader of the "birther" campaign against Barack Obama and who has talked about his own White House bid – will return to the limelight when he hosts a candidates' debate days before Iowa votes.

Ari Fleischer, a former George W Bush spokesman, called the debate "an invitation to a circus".

Karl Rove, the former President's long-term adviser, was irate. Calling for the debate to be scrapped, he demanded: "What the heck are Republican candidates doing?"

The immediate question, however, is whether Mr Gingrich will outlast Michelle Bachmann, Mr Perry and Mr Cain before him, who each briefly soared to the top of the polls as the "anti-Romney" candidate before coming to grief.

Many observers predict the former Speaker will self-destruct as he has done not infrequently in his long and controversy-studded career. This time though, Mr Gingrich is projecting himself as an elder statesman.

His first TV adverts in Iowa are notably non-partisan, with a soothing, "morning-again-in-America" tone reminiscent of Ronald Reagan three decades ago.

Romney's $100,000 bid for secrecy unveiled

The Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an effort to keep his records secret.

The move was legal but unusual, officials said. The effort to purge the records was made a few months before Mr Romney launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

He is again competing for the party's nomination, but his position as frontrunner has been whittled away in the polls. Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Digital Optimisation Executive - Marketing

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's fastest growing, multi...

Recruitment Genius: Professional Sales Trainee - B2B

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: First things first - for the av...

Recruitment Genius: Creative Web and UI Designer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An experienced creative web and...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral