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Cain leads national 2012 poll; Perry places fifth

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Cain (Carlos Osorio/AP)

Herman Cain surpassed Mitt Romney in the latest national poll from CBS News/New York Times, confirming Cain's momentum in the 2012 race--as well as fifth-place finisher Rick Perry's tough slog ahead.

Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, earned 25 percent support from Republican primary voters in the poll--4 percentage points more than former Massachusetts Gov. Romney, who received 21 percent support. Romney and Cain were tied with 17 percent in the previous CBS/New York Times poll conducted in early October.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich placed third, with 10 percent support, Texas Rep. Ron Paul received 8 percent and Texas Gov. Perry garnered 6 percent.

The latest poll results come out the same day that Perry--once regarded as the race's odds-on frontrunner--is seeking to jumpstart his campaign by unveiling his flat-tax economic plan.

Perry led the CBS/New York Times' mid-September poll with 30 percent support. Since then, Perry's support among tea partiers has steadily declined, according to poll results.

Still, Perry and other candidates trailing in Tuesday's poll still have some cause for hope. Most primary voters have explained to pollsters that they can still be won over. Just 19 percent of Republican primary voters who expressed a candidate preference say their mind is completely made up. Eighty percent say it's too soon to say with certainty whom they will support. CBS notes this margin is similar to results from this point in the last presidential cycle, in late 2007.

The Iowa caucus--the first Republican nominating contest--is currently scheduled for Jan. 3, 2012.

Tuesday's poll surveyed 1,650 Republican primary voters Oct 19-24. The margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.

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