The Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday shows Cain, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, and Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, each favored by 21 percent of Republicans surveyed.
Perry, meanwhile, fell from a clear lead at 25 percent in the same poll a month ago to 11 percent among the 345 Republicans interviewed by telephone Oct. 5-9. Cain surged from 6 percent in September. Romney was at 19 percent a month ago, trailing only Perry.
The margin of sampling error among the subset of Republicans or GOP-leaning voters in the overall survey is plus or minus 5.3 percentage points.
``Herman Cain is moving up the ladder at breakneck speed,'' said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. He said the GOP choice in Virginia remains unsettled. ``Romney's support remains relatively stable while other candidates rise and fall around him.''
Texas Congressman Ron Paul was fourth in the survey at 9 percent, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich had 7 percent each, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was at 2 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 1 percent. One-fifth of the respondents either didn't know whom they would support or wouldn't say, and 1 percent said they would not vote.