By Dick Morris on May 25, 2011

A survey completed on May 23rd shows Mitt Romney seizing a decisive national lead in the Republican Presidential Primary. Romney, who was getting only 22% of the vote before Trump and Huckabee pulled out, now swells to 30% of the primary vote (if Sarah Palin does not run). The survey also found that former House Speaker Newt Gringirch was neither helped nor hurt by his rocky announcement of his candidacy and has come through the firestorm triggered by his gift giving to his wife and his criticism of Paul Ryan’s Medicare cuts unscathed. The survey also shows real momentum for the bottom of the GOP field, notably for former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

With Palin out of the race, the Morris Poll found the following results:

Romney = 30%
Gingrich = 15%
Bachmann = 7%
Cain = 7%
Pawlenty = 5%
Santorum = 3%
Huntsman = 1%

With Palin in the contest, Romney still leads with 25% of the vote, followed by Palin at 16% and Gingrich at 11%. No other candidate gets more than 6%.

Essentially, this poll shows the GOP field taking shape. Romney is far out in the lead and Gingrich is fending off challenges from Cain, Bachmann, Pawlenty, and Santorum for the right to be his chief opponent.

The rise of Cain is particularly notable. Coming off a strong debate performance in the second tier GOP debate in May (neither Romney, Gingrich or Palin attended), the charismatic African-American is building up momentum and winning the votes of many of the Tea Party activists. Particularly if Palin does not run, Bachmann, who has yet to announce, also has great potential to overtake Gingrich for second place.

The survey was conducted from May 20-23 from our phone banks in Melbourne Florida and has a 95% confidence of a margin of error of plus or minus 3%. 800 likely primary voters were interviewed.

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