In it, but not of it. TPM DC

Polls: Herman Cain Vaults Into Contention In GOP Prez Race

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Newscom

In an unreleased PPP survey of Ohio Republicans obtained by TPM, Cain also rose from obscurity to join the ranks of the frontrunners. In that poll, Mitt Romney (21%) and Sarah Palin (16%) also claimed the top two spots. However, Cain wasn't too far behind, earning a third place tie with Gingrich at 12% apiece.

Cain, a talk radio host and former pizza chain CEO who has never held public office, significantly boosted his profile this month through his participation in a nationally televised Fox News debate. Participants in a Fox focus group after the event almost unanimously declared Cain the winner.

In an interview with TPM last week, Cain spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael said that Cain's "star has risen," and predicted that he would draw more support as his name recognition grew.

'"More and more people are coming to know who he is," Carmichael said. "And once they do, they'll like him."

Cain officially rolled out his campaign last weekend at an event in his home state of Georgia.