Which of these clowns will the circus audience pick?
Annoyingly, CBS hasn't released the full results from their latest survey, but according to their website, here's where things stand
for the top three candidates for the GOP nomination:
The field of Republican candidates now has three candidates within striking distance of each other at the top of the list: with 18 percent, Herman Cain is in the top spot, followed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich with 15% each.
According to CBS, Cain and Romney have lost ground since their last poll while Gingrich has gained. Unfortunately, their poll writeup is fairly opaque about what poll they are referring to, but I'm guessing it's the CBS/NYT poll from late October, which showed Cain at 25%, Romney at 21%, and Gingrich at 10%. CBS doesn't say whether the same pollster conducted both polls, so their comparison might be bogus.
According to CBS, most Republicans say they don't care about the accusations:
In a new CBS News Poll, 61 percent of Republican primary voters say the sexual harassment accusations against Cain won't make any difference in their vote, but 30 percent say the charges make them less likely to back him, and that rises to 38 percent among women. Cain has lost support among women since last month - from 28 percent in October to 15 percent now. He has lost ground with conservatives and Tea Party supporters as well.
Again, keep in mind that CBS might not be making an apples-to-apples comparison between polls. But whatever the trend is, it's very clear that the GOP field is very far from settled. To see a national poll less than two months from Iowa show the leading candidate with just 18% is remarkable and underscores the extent to which Republican voters are still shopping around for a candidate. According to CBS, "seven in 10 Republican primary voters say it is still too early to say for sure which candidate they will support." Or, to put it differently, 85% of Republicans say they are undecided or are supporting somebody other than Mitt Romney, even though he's the guy everybody agrees has a mortal lock on the nomination.
8:59 AM PT: CBS has now posted full results, including trendlines.