Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich added momentum to the surge of his presidential nomination candidacy, placing well ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in an Iowa poll released late Saturday by the Des Moines Register, the state's largest-circulation daily newspaper.
"If you add the first and second choices of Iowans in this poll, I get an astonishing 43 percent," Mr. Gingrich told The Washington Times in a phone interview an hour after the poll was made public.
In the new poll, Mr. Gingrich got the nod from 25 percent of Republicans likely to attend the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses, the first nomination contest in the 2012 race.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul placed second with 18 percent, and Mr. Romney placed a surprising third, at only 16 percent.
Mr. Gingrich, on a roll since before Thanksgiving despite spending nothing on television advertising in Iowa and having no paid organized supporters until last week, scored a gain of 18 percentage points over his placement in the same poll at the end of October, when he was in fifth place and former Kansas City Federal Reserve Chairman Herman Cain was first, followed by Mr. Romney in second.
Mr. Cain, beset with allegations made by several women of sexual transgressions, suspended his campaign on Saturday. Mr. Cain tumbled to 8 percent in the new poll.
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