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81 Percent of GOP Primary Voters in Play

10:21 AM, Oct 25, 2011 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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The latest CBS/New York Times GOP presidential preference poll has Herman Cain at 25 percent, Mitt Romney 21, Newt Gingrich 10, Ron Paul 8, Rick Perry 6, Michele Bachmann 2, Jon Huntsman 1, and Rick Santorum 1. A quarter of respondents failed to choose any of the announced candidates. And most of those who did make a choice aren't sold on their pick. CBS reports that "voters are not firm in their support of any of the candidates. About four of five voters said it is too early to say for sure who they support for the nomination, with just 19 percent saying their minds are already made up. That's about the same as it was at this point in 2007."

Elephant Drawing GOP

Speaking of 2007, I'd note that a CBS poll at this time in the cycle, in mid-October, had Giuliani at 29 percent, Thompson 21, McCain 18, Romney 12, and Huckabee 4.

So: The race seems to be more open and fluid than conventional wisdom has it. In particular, it strikes me that as everyone focuses (understandably) on Romney, Cain, and Perry, Gingrich is increasingly well positioned for a serious challenge. And mightn't at least one of Mitch Daniels, Mike Pence, Paul Ryan, or Jeb Bush be rethinking his decision not to run?

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