(image: Cain and Todd Benson)

Newt Gingrich has managed to raise to top tier status according to the CBS News poll. According to the poll, Gingrich is tied with Mitt Romney for second place just behind Herman Cain. From CBS News:

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. Support for both Cain and Romney has declined since late last month, and Gingrich is the only one of the top three whose support is steadily – if slowly – on the upswing.

Gingrich has been slowly but steadily moving up in the national polls over the past several weeks since Rick Perry’s support collapsed, but this is the first major national poll to finally put him in what I would consider a top tier status. Gingrich’s campaign has been mostly under the radar so far, but now that his poll numbers are up enough, he should start facing increased scrutiny, and there is a lot of Gingrich’s career to scrutinize.

The other important finding from the poll is that we are now finally seeing the multiple sexual harassment accusations hurt Cain’s standing in the polls. Cain has lost support across the board but significantly from women. According to the poll Cain support among women was nearly cut in half in the last month. He went from 28 percent support among women in October to just 15 percent support in this recent poll.

We could be seeing the first signs that Cain’s 15 minutes are just about up.