Former Godfather's CEO Herman Cain dropped from the top spot he held on Nov. 2 to third place with just 14%.
"When it comes to the Republican horse race, the scenario hasn't changed much over the past few months - just the players," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Speaker Newt Gingrich is the latest GOP contender to rise to the top, powered by conservatives who remain skeptical about Gov. Mitt Romney," Brown added.
"The question for Gingrich, as was the case for U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry and Herman Cain, is whether he is just the flavor of the month or whether he can sustain his meteoric rise.
"Gingrich's strength with the Republican electorate is the perception of competence, while he needs to deal with questions about personal qualities. He is fighting the problem, especially among non-Republicans, as our mothers told us growing up, that it is very difficult to have a second chance to make a first impression."
Despite leading the Republicans, most of those surveyed said former Massachusetts Governor Romney has the best chance to beat President Obama in 2012.
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