Herman Cain's rise through the Republican field continued Wednesday, as a new national poll found the former businessman tied with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for first place in the latest CBS News poll.
Cain and Romney both earned the support of 17 percent of American voters — a rise of 12 percentage points for Cain compared to two weeks ago. His support seems to have come almost entirely to the detriment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who nearly halved his number of supporters, falling 11 percentage points from 23 percent to 12 percent.
The poll reiterated the conventional wisdom: that Perry's shaky debate performances were souring his prospects within the party. Eight in 10 Republican voters said that the candidates' debate performances were at least somewhat important to them, while nearly six in 10 of those polled said they had already watched the debates that had taken place.
Republicans also strongly disagreed with Perry's support for an in-state tuition credit for the children of illegal immigrants — a point of attack during the most recent debate in Florida. Only one in 10 of those polled supported Perry's position.
A second poll released Wednesday also shows Cain gaining at Perry's expense. The new Quinnipiac University poll showed Romney in the lead with 22 percent, and Cain in second with 17 percent. Perry, at 14 percent, fell to third after a 10 point drop from August.
In their August poll, Cain had only won 5 percent and was mired in sixth place. The Quinnipiac poll, conducted from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, has a 2 percent margin of error.
Support for Cain's campaign has become increasingly apparent in polls released throughout the week. An ABC/Washington Post poll released yesterday found him tied with Perry in second place, while a set of PPP polls found the former pizza magnate leading in some state polls. As in the other polls, Cain's support seems concentrated among the most conservative members in the party.
Still, the poll suggests that there is room for more shifting in the Republican field. Fewer than 20 percent of those polled said they had definitively decided who they would support, and only 8 percent said Cain was the candidate most likely to defeat the president in 2012. Thirty-two percent of Republicans named Romney as the most electable candidate, while 21 percent tabbed Perry.
The poll also found some dissatisfaction with the field as it currently stands. Forty-six percent of those polled said they were satisfied with the Republican candidates, but the same number said they wanted new choices.
With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie opting against a run, it's hard to see who would excite dissatisfied Republican voters. Three in four of those polled said that they wouldn't want to see former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin enter the race.
—This story was last updated at 1:13 p.m.