Gingrich continues to struggle in polls, gets nod from key Cain ally

Urbandale, Iowa -- Newt Gingrich continued to struggle in the polls Saturday as he trumpeted an endorsement he received from Herman Cain’s former Iowa director just two days before the Republican caucuses get under way.

The former House speaker placed fourth in a new Des Moines Register poll with the support of 12 percent of likely caucus-goers. He is trailing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, 24 percent; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, 22 percent; and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, 15 percent. The newspaper's poll was conducted Tuesday through Friday.

Gingrich has said he will stay in the race even if he places fourth in Iowa. In an interview before the poll was released Saturday, Gingrich's state campaign chairwoman, Iowa House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer, said Gingrich’s Iowa bus tour has been well attended, calling the crowds of supporters “fabulous.” She predicted Gingrich will outperform recent polls.

“Look at the room,” she said, gesturing to dozens of volunteers who had shoehorned into his campaign headquarters in Urbandale. “We are coming right back up [in the polls]. I feel very positive about his position.”

In a statement released by the Gingrich campaign, Larry Tuel, Cain’s former point man in Iowa, praised his platform.

“I particularly appreciate his national tax policy, welfare reform, and ideas for reducing and refocusing regulatory authority to solve our deep rooted economic problems,” Tuel said.

Many political observers speculated Cain himself would endorse the former speaker after Cain announced this month he was suspending his campaign for the GOP presidential nomination last month. But Cain has kept quiet so far. Cain’s chief of staff, Mark Block, wrote in an email Thursday “There are no plans currently to endorse any of the candidates."