Matt Towery
ATLANTA -- A new Poll Position national survey taken right after Herman Cain's press conference to deny sexual harassment charges shows Cain still clinging to a lead, but with Newt Gingrich charging towards the top, statistically tied with Mitt Romney and within points of Cain.

Sometimes the liberal elite media can turn entrepreneurial. That's the case with former longtime CNN president for newsgathering worldwide, Eason Jordan. I know Jordan, and he would flinch at the idea that he is a "liberal news elite." And in fact, in watching him create a new polling firm that polls nationally every night of the week, and in lending him a helping hand, I can attest that his group is bending over backward to be fair and accurate. For fun, visit their website at www.pollposition.com. It's not just politics, and it sure beats the old fashioned tried-and-true version of polling that my company and others like it do -- at least in volume and presentation.

So I was not shocked when Jordan's poll showed Herman Cain still in the lead after his defiant press conference on Tuesday of this week. But I was also not shocked to see the race narrowing. The poll showed Cain in first place among likely Republican primary and caucus voters nationwide. He was at 24 percent. But right behind Cain were Romney and Gingrich, both statistically tied at 20 percent each.

This might be bad news for Cain if his numbers slip below that of Romney or Gingrich. The poll was taken immediately before Atlanta attorney Lin Wood took apart the case of famed buttinski defender of all things female, attorney Gloria Allred, and that of her client. Allred's a real charmer. Back in 1998, I appeared on the old program "Politically Incorrect With Bill Maher." My book was titled "Powerchicks: How Woman Will Dominate America." At the end of the show, Bill asked the panel, "What do we think of this title?" Everyone said they liked it except Allred, who had to get in something like, "It's demeaning to women." Of course, after the show she told me she liked the book, but just had to get that in ... lovely.

The problem for Cain is that a GOP campaign, not the Democrats, has invaded the typical Democratic liberal press and accompanying group of players (such as Allred) in order to destroy Herman Cain. Why, you might ask. Because Cain is taking up too much "political oxygen," forcing bigger names to stay stuck in the polls and unable to turn their more moderate position into true conservative ones.

For Romney, Cain's destruction is a true positive. Suddenly he gets more attention, becomes the front-runner he was "meant to be" and can attempt to use his massive war chest to take command of circumstances as planned. As long as Cain remained in first place, Romney had no chance of winning the state he first considered skipping -- Iowa. But with Cain gone, Iowa could be within reach. That would be a huge unexpected conservative victory that would likely propel the former governor to a GOP nomination.

In Gingrich's case, a Cain decline means a Gingrich rise toward the top. During the many debates, Gingrich has served as the voice of reason -- preferring to attack moderators, President Obama, anyone other than his fellow GOP contestants. Gingrich's likeability numbers, once his biggest problem, have risen like a rocket. And he has already been judged the "smartest of the bunch" by most GOP voters, even if they did not think him electable. The former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives is by far the most conservative candidate to be left standing in the "anybody but Romney effort."

Certainly I must disclose that I have known Gingrich since I was a teenager and headed his political operations when he was speaker. But anyone who has followed my polling or columns knows that I am the first to punch him when he's wrong, or to release polls that are unflattering to Newt. Newt is a big boy, and my professional standards do not impact our personal relationship.

If I were a betting man, I would still bet that Romney wins the nomination. That said, Newt Gingrich could pull the comeback of all time -- or at the very least, secure a spot as the vice presidential nominee for 2012. I mean, hey, Dick Cheney makes Newt look like Johnny Depp.


Matt Towery

Matt Towery is a former National Republican legislator of the year and author of Powerchicks: How Women Will Dominate America.
 
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