That being said, the new USA Today/Gallup survey finds the nomination up for grabs, with no candidate breaking from the pack to establish a clear lead.
According to the poll, the former House speaker is the favorite of 22% of Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters, just ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 21%.
Herman Cain is still part of the conversation, placing third at 16%. Texans Ron Paul (9%) and Rick Perry (8%) round out the top five.
Among more conservative voters, Gingrich leads Romney 23% to 20%, with Cain at 18%. Romney leads among moderates and liberals with 20% support, followed by Gingrich and Cain at 12% each.
Gallup's Jeffrey M. Jones wrote that typically by this point, Republicans have "anointed a dominant front-runner" who ends up winning the party's nomination. But just weeks before the Iowa caucuses, there is no clear favorite.
"The current contest stands to be the most competitive and perhaps most unpredictable for the Republican nomination since 1972," he wrote.
The survey of 946 registered voters was conducted Nov. 13-17, and has a margin of error of 4 percentage points.