Former Godfathers Pizza CEO Herman Cain has leapfrogged Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the second place spot behind Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.
Two national polls released Monday showed a surging Cain surpassing Perry, who'd emerged as a first or second-place candidate in polls following the August launch of his campaign. Romney leads in both polls, though he lacks a commanding margin over his competitors in both polls.
Twenty percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents name Romney as their choice in a presidential nominee, according to a new Gallup poll. He leads, at 24 percent, among lean Republicans in a Washington Post/Bloomberg News poll also released Monday.
The battle for second position on the polls appears more fluid. Cain surged to second in the Gallup survey, at 18 percent, up from five percent in a mid-Sept. Gallup poll. Perry, meanwhile, had tumbled from 31 percent -- first place -- in last month's poll to 15 percent -- third place, behind Cain -- in Gallup's most recent offering, conducted Oct. 3-7.
The Bloomberg/Washington Post survey, conducted Oct. 6-9, also had Cain in second place, at 16 percent, and Perry in third, at 13 percent.
The two polls set the stage for Tuesday night's debate in New Hampshire, the first since the GOP field was largely finalized by the formal exits last week by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sarah Palin. The debate is scheduled for 8 p.m. EST on Bloomberg Television.
Cain's surge in the polls has been aided by publicity associated with his national book tour, and his victory last month at a Florida straw poll. But he'll have to fend off suspicions that he is more than a "flavor of the month" candidate, a charge Cain has repeatedly disputed, in a field that has seen momentary surges for several candidates.
Perry, meanwhile, is looking to reassure supporters after several rocky debate outings, and a controversy surrounding the racially-charged name of a hunting property his camp had leased.
The Gallup poll has a four percent margin of error, while the Washington Post/Bloomberg poll has a six percent margin of error.
(New data on the primary races in Iowa and New Hampshire from the NBC News/Marist poll will be published Tuesday, while a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll is due Wednesday.)