Poll: Romney leads in four early-voting states

Mitt Romney has regained his lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Romney has solid footing at the front of the field in the first four early-voting states New Hampshire, Florida, Iowa and South Carolina, according to a new survey by CNN/Time/ORC International.

Romney holds a wide lead in New Hampshire, widely considered his state to lose, with 40 percent of those polled saying they would vote for him if the primary were held today.

Romney’s gains in Iowa are more surprising, since Romney has failed to campaign in the Hawkeye state this cycle. Romney polled at 24 percent support in the new poll, leading businessman Herman Cain, who took 21 percent, within the poll’s error margin. Romney and Cain poll well ahead of the other candidates in the state, where Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who has campaigned hard in the state and won the Iowa Straw Poll in August, has fallen to 6 percent support.

In South Carolina, Romney and Cain are polling a similarly close race. Romney has the support of 25 percent and Cain 23 percent there.

Romney took 30 percent in Florida compared to Cain’s 18 percent.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who entered the race in August as a strong contender in the polls and a threat to Romney’s first place status, did not make it past fourth place in any of the states polled.

The survey also asked likely voters how firmly decided they are on their candidate choice, with the majority in all four states indicating voters are still willing to be swayed.

“Only about a third of the respondents in any state say their minds are made up, and that number drops to just 23 percent in Iowa. Meanwhile, in New Hampshire and Florida one in seven voters are still assessing the field and don't favor any candidate yet,” said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The survey was conducted amongst self-identified Republican voters last week and has an overall sampling error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.