Poll: Gingrich 32, Romney 23, Cain 14, Paul 6

Gingrich’s lead has opened up as the former Speaker has rallied both older voters and independents. 39 percent of those 65 and older support Gingrich, versus 28 percent for Romney, while those in the 45-64 age range back the speaker by a 37 to 19 percent margin. Those figures would tend to support the emerging theme that conservatives are rallying behind Gingrich as their preferred alternative. Gingrich and Romney are virtually tied among voters 18-44, who are more likely to hold liberal views.

But Gingrich is also rallying independents, garnering 32 percent of likely voters who do not affiliate with a party. Among independents, Romney actually trails Ron Paul, who pulls 17 percent of the vote to Romney’s 16 percent.

Further boosting the Gingrich campaign is the knowledge that much of Herman Cain’s support comes from Democrats that the polling firm believes will crossover to vote in open primaries. Cain was the choice of 36 percent of Democrats – more than double any other Republican nominee – suggesting that his poll numbers might be nationally inflated and that conservatives truly are coalescing around Gingrich.