Cain Leads Romney in National Poll

Cain Leads Romney in National Poll

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - October 25, 2011

Herman Cain holds a narrow lead over Mitt Romney in the Republican presidential race, according to a CBS/New York Times poll released Tuesday. But the race remains in flux with only 19 percent of GOP primary voters saying they have fully decided on a candidate.

Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather's Pizza, attracts 25 percent support from Republican primary voters while the former Massachusetts governor garners 21 percent. In a CBS News poll released earlier this month, both candidates ran neck-and-neck with 17 percent. Cain's surge can be attributed in part to increased Tea Party support: 32 percent of those who identify with the movement back him compared to 18 percent in the last poll. Romney also received a bump in Tea Party support, up to 18 percent from 12 percent.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich comes in third with 10 percent support, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul has 8 percent. Texas Gov. Rick Perry slides down to 6 percent, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann gets 2 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman lag at the bottom of the ballot with 1 percent each.

Perry lost five points in Tea Party support since the last CBS poll and has seen his numbers sharply decline since a CBS/New York Times poll released in mid-September, when he led the field with 23 percent. At that time, he was backed by 30 percent of Tea Partiers.

The poll was conducted after the candidates -- minus Huntsman -- faced off in a CNN debate last week in Las Vegas.

The survey also found that about eight in 10 primary voters have yet to make up their minds on a candidate. But Republicans are tuning in to the 2012 contest: 78 percent say they are closely following the campaigns.

The poll surveyed 455 Republican primary voters from Oct. 19-24. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points. 

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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