Herman Cain up, Mitt Romney down? A new poll out of Iowa shows that the former Massachusetts governor may be losing support to upstart Cain, just two months before the state holds the nation's first nominating contest.
Cain now leads the GOP pack in Iowa with 23 percent, a slight lead over Romney's 22 percent support. The question now: can Cain maintain it? He's not the first candidate to garner support over Romney: Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race amid much fanfare, shooting instantly to the top of the polls in August before plummeting mid-pack and ceding frontrunner status back to Romney. Romney has yet to catch on as the candidate to rally around, but has maintained consistent polling numbers while candidates around him have risen and fallen.
Cain, who has never held political office, has stumbled a bit since catching up to Romney. His views on abortion caused concern among some Republicans--in several interviews, Cain struggled to clarify whether he was pro-life or pro-choice--and a recent campaign ad became a late-night punchline. The ad, which showed his campaign manager smoking, also garnered controversy by some who found the depiction of smoking inappropriate.
"It seems to me as a frontrunner, you would have a responsibility not to take that kind of tone like this," Bob Schieffer told Cain Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation."
Cain argued Sunday that he was not trying to say smoking is a "cool thing to do."
With the Iowa caucus looming, other Republican candidates are trying to bounce back. Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann won the Iowa straw poll two months ago, but fell way behind after Perry entered the race. Perry, who began losing support after a number of week debate performances, was hit with criticism last week after suggesting he might skip most of the remaining debates. He has since backpedaled some, now saying he will take part in at least five more GOP debates.
The Iowa caucus is scheduled for January 3.