Associated Press
In this Oct. 22, 2011 file photo, Republican presidential candidate, businessman Herman Cain speaks in Des Moines, Iowa.

Buoyed by strong approval from tea party supporters, Herman Cain has surged to first place in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

CBS News reports that on Oct. 3, Cain and Mitt Romney were tied at 17 percent apiece in national polling of Republicans, with the one-time Godfather's Pizza CEO leading the former Massachusetts governor among tea partiers, 24-17.

In the last three weeks, however, Cain's tea-party edge over Romney has increased to 32-18, and among all Republican voters Cain now leads Romney 25-21.

Slate columnist John Dickerson posted an op-ed piece Wednesday evening pointing out Cain's outsider reputation has played a huge role in augmenting and solidifying his base of supporters.

"Cain is no longer flavor of the week — he's a regular menu item. He's popular, we know that. And now, after several weeks of attacks, gaffes, and scrutiny, he has shown endurance. … If anything, he's increased in popularity, which shows just how suspicious voters are of the political class and how much they're willing to put up with someone who isn't a member of it."

But not all news is good news for Herman Cain, as the New York Times published an unflattering article Thursday with the headline "As Cain Promotes His Management Skills, Ex-Aides Tell of Campaign in Chaos."

"Mr. Cain's campaign has generated much promise since it began over the summer. A former business executive rises improbably from anonymity to the top of the polls, using the strength of his speechmaking, folksy charm and catchy policy plans. But Mr. Cain's campaign may have undermined itself with questionable decisions and a series of missteps, which have led to the impression that the candidate lacks focus and preparation."