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CNN Polls: Romney Leading or Tied for Lead in Early States

Front-runner?

5:11 PM, Oct 26, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The latest polls from CNN/Time show that Mitt Romney is leading or tied for the lead in all four of the first states to vote in the Republican primary next year.

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Romney leads in New Hampshire and Florida and is statistically tied for first with Herman Cain in Iowa and South Carolina. Iowa will hold its caucuses on January 3. New Hampshire is expected to hold its primary on January 10. The South Carolina primary will be on January 21. And the Florida primary will be held on January 31.

Romney has his largest lead in New Hampshire, the state next to his home of Massachusetts. Romney has 40 percent of the vote there, according to CNN's survey of Republican or Republican-leaning independents who are likely to vote in the primary. Cain comes in second there, 27 points behind at 13 percent, with Ron Paul a close third at 12 percent. According to the RealClearPolitics poll average, Romney leads in New Hampshire by nearly 23 percentage points.

In Florida, Romney also has a substantial lead among the registered Republicans polled, garnering 30 percent of the vote to Cain's 18 percent. Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry are tied for third at 9 percent. The poll average gives Romney a 5.3 point lead over Cain in Florida.

In Iowa, Romney has 24 percent to Cain's 21 percent, meaning the two are statistically tied. Cain still maintains a lead in the average of the polls there. Paul has 13 percent in Iowa, according to CNN, while Gingrich and Perry tie at 10 percent.

Finally, in South Carolina, Romney and Cain remain close at the top as well. Romney has 25 percent and Cain has 23 percent, while Paul has 12 percent and Perry has 11 percent. Cain also maintains a lead in the poll average in South Carolina.

Does this mean that Republican primary voters in these key early states are coalescing around Romney? Not quite, CNN notes:

But the surveys indicate that many Republican voters are still far from decided.

"Only about a third of all respondents in the surveys say their minds are made up," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

That corroborates what the last CBS/New York Times poll found: a large number of Republican primary voters are still in play.

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