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Gingrich surges in Des Moines Register poll

DES MOINES, Iowa -- One month ahead of the highly anticipated Iowa caucuses, one candidate has effectively ended his campaign and a new poll in the first-in-the-nation state provides more evidence that a new dynamic has emerged.

A new Iowa Poll by the Des Moines Register shows that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has surged into a clear lead in the state, the results coming on the same day that Georgia businessman Herman Cain suspended his run for the White House.

In the new survey, taken before Cain's announcement, Gingrich received 25 percent of support from likely caucus goers.  His showing is a gain of 18 percentage points since the last Iowa Poll was released on Oct. 29. That poll showed Gingrich in fifth place, trailing Cain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Romney dropped 6 percentage points and into third place in the new survey, polling at just 16 percent

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas moved into second place in the Register's poll, with 18 percent, up from 12 percent.

Eleven percent of likely caucus goers say they are undecided. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota trails with 8 percent (the same she polled in the October poll), Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum are tied at 6 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman came in at 2 percent.

Although the poll was conducted before his announcement, Cain received just 8 percent in the new poll.

Gingrich has risen despite spending no money on television advertising in the state thus far and having just opened a campaign headquarters in the state this week.

This new Iowa Poll was made public just after a prominent Northwest Iowa newspaper, the Sioux City Journal, give its endorsement to Romney saying he has the "experience, skills and charisma to lead the country." The Register has yet to endorse a candidate.

Gingrich now commands a nine-point lead over Romney with 30 days to go before Iowans vote.

"Solutions matter and so does Iowa. Newt is going to keep campaigning hard and when it is time to caucus Iowa will be able to choose a President who is offering leadership now," Gingrich spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News shortly after the poll was released.

Such volatility in Iowa is not abnormal.  Four years ago at this time, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee jumped ahead of Romney in the Des Moines Register poll. Huckabee moved ahead of Romney by 5 percentage points and went on to win the caucuses a month later.

 New NBC News/Marist polls from Iowa and New Hampshire will be released Sunday at 9 a.m. EST, as well.

An analysis from the Des Moines Register notes that the race in Iowa is still far from settled, as 60 percent said they could still change their minds. Forty-three percent of likely caucus goers picked Gingrich as first or second, according to the paper.

There are three upcoming debates in Iowa: Dec. 10, Dec. 15 and Dec. 27.