Newt Gingrich now holds a slim advantage over Mitt Romney in a new Fox News survey, the first to give the former House speaker the lead among Republicans nationwide.
Gingrich surged from 12% to 23% since the previous Fox poll in late October, thanks to shifts from previous front-runner Herman Cain and the sliding Rick Perry.
Romney’s 22% showing is up slightly from the October poll; Cain is now third at 15%, down from 24%. Ron Paul places fourth at 8%.
Whether Gingrich can succeed where other candidates have failed, and sustain the new momentum for his campaign is unclear. He fought back Wednesday against new reports of his ties to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Even as Gingrich and Romney are statistically tied, the poll finds that Romney has a clear advantage on the question of electability. Thirty-seven percent say the former Massachusetts governor has the best chance of beating President Obama in November 2012; 18% say that candidate is Gingrich.
In a hypothetical general election matchup, Romney now leads Obama 44%-42%, the first time he had led Obama in the Fox poll.
Obama leads Cain 47%-38%, and Gingrich 46%-41%.
The poll was conducted by Anderson Robbins Research and Shaw & Company Research from Nov. 13-15. The survey of 370 GOP primary voters had a margin of error of 5%; the sample of 914 registered voters had a margin of error of 3%.