Twitter Reuters

There are a number of polls being conducted by a number of major news organizations to try and predict the winner of the Grand Old Party (GOP) presidential race. However, a new study suggests that a candidate's prospects in the polls could be estimated by the size of his Twitter following.

It is believed that a change in Twitter following could be the leading indicator of shifts in polling patterns, with candidates receiving a burst of followers weeks, or even days, before poll numbers officially shift.

A national CNN/ORC poll showed that Herman Cain was losing ground, from being almost tied for the lead with former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney; Cain is now a distant third. Meanwhile, former U.S. Houser speaker, Newt Gingrich is gaining momentum

Meanwhile, Twitter election research house, 140elect, said they predicted Gingrich's advancement in the polls much earlier.

Spikes in followers consistently precede shifts in the polls. Look at Gingrich for instance. He receives a major spike in followers and polling when he announces on May 11th, then goes down in the polls until a September 7th GOP debate where he makes a splash. This spike in followers precedes a steady, upward shift in polling for Newt Gingrich, said Zach Green, the Chief Executive Officer of 140elect, in a blog post.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry had the largest spike in followers, generated on the day of his announcement, which was soon reflected in his growing poll numbers. Since his first debate, however, Perry's new follower trendline has been down and this is reflected in steadily dropping poll numbers. Twitter shows that nobody cared about what Perry had to say, although people did enjoy mocking Perry after each debate.

Michele Bachmann experienced a dramatic, downward break in her new follower trendline on Aug. 15 and her poll numbers have been dropping ever since, Green added.

Romney experienced three major spikes in new followers, over the GOP primary season. Each of these was followed by growth in the pools. The downward trendline of peaks in Twitter followers for Romney since Oct. 11 has been indicative of his weakened standing in the polls, as announced on Tuesday.

It was found that although standing next to Perry in GOP debates raised his standing, comparatively, the feud between the two ultimately hurt both candidates.

Herman Cain, beleaguered by a sexual harassment scandal, is receiving mixed responses. His growth in Twitter followers has declined but has not made a decisive break down past his minimum trendline. This indicates his momentum has come to a halt and he won't be rising in the polls anytime soon but neither his front-runner status likely to collapse any time now.