#GOP2012 Reuters Poll: Newt 24; Mitt 22; Cain 12; Perry 10

Reuters Reports: Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has roared into the lead of the Republican nominating race, brushing off concerns about his work for a troubled housing company, a Reuters/Ipsos poll [taken Friday-Saturday] showed.

Twenty-four percent of registered Republican voters would support the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives if the contest were held now, an increase of 8 percentage points from roughly a week ago, according to the poll, which was conducted on November 18-19.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has stayed near the top of most polls, garnered support from 22 percent of Republicans, slumping 6 percentage points from the last survey conducted on November 10-11 and ending up essentially tied with Gingrich.

Despite allegations of questionable business ties, Gingrich is the latest favorite of conservative Republicans eager for an alternative to Romney, whom they see as too moderate.

Support for Herman Cain, a previous frontrunner, is crumbling. The former pizza executive dropped 8 percentage points in the poll from last week and fell back into third place. Support for him has halved since late October.

In a sign of further relief for Gingrich, 46 percent of Republicans said the revelations that he had received up to $1.8 million in consulting fees from mortgage giant Freddie Mac had no impact on their view of the candidate. Thirty-one percent said the issue left them with a less favorable opinion of Gingrich, who has criticized Freddie Mac sharply in the past.

Support for Cain and Texas Governor Rick Perry fell in the Reuters/Ipsos poll. Cain came in with 12 percent support and Perry, who has performed poorly in a series of televised debates, was in fourth place with 10 percent.

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