Corbertt B. Daily - Businessman Herman Cain is now atop the field of Republican White House hopefuls, squeaking past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.
Cain garnered 25 percent support of Republican primary voters in the poll released on Tuesday, compared to Romney's 21 percent.
In early October, the two men were tied at 17 percent.
The poll was conducted Oct 19-24 among 1,650 adults. 1,475 interviews were conducted among registered voters and 455 voters who said they plan to vote in a Republican primary. The margin of error among primary voters is plus or minus four percentage points.
Cain's support surged among voters who identified with the conservative Tea Party wing of the Republican party, rising to 32 percent in mid-October from 18 percent just a few weeks ago. That's more than four times the level of support he had from the group in mid-September.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich took 10 percent of likely primary voters, while Texas Rep. Ron Paul's support was at 8 percent.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who led the poll in mid-September, plunged to just 6 percent support. He had 12 percent in early October and 23 percent in mid-September.
Romney's Tea Party support has held steady in October, at 18 percent, after a modest increase from September's 12 percent.
Perry, however, has seen his Tea Party backing go up in steam. He had just 7 percent support in the latest poll, compared to 12 percent in early October and a staggering 30 percent in mid-September.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman were at the back of the pack, with 2 percent, 1 percent and 1 percent respectively.
The race is still open, as voters are not firm in their support of any of the candidates. About four of five voters said it is too early to say for sure who they support for the nomination, with just 19 percent saying their minds are already made up. That's about the same as it was at this point in 2007.
Americans are getting interested in the 2012 race for president. About 70 percent of registered voters nationwide are paying at least some attention to the 2012 election campaign, including 31 percent who said they are paying a lot of attention.
Republicans, of course, are paying closer attention to the campaign. About 78 percent said they were following the campaign closely, compared to about 68 percent of Democrats.