Washington (CNN) - Two new polls show front-runners Mitt Romney and Herman Cain in close competition in two states with early primaries.
According to NBC/Marist Polls released Wednesday, former Godfather's Pizza executive Cain edged out former Massachusetts Gov. Romney in Florida by one percentage point and in South Carolina by four percentage points. But the results are within the poll's sampling error.
The Florida numbers show Cain with support from 32% of likely GOP voters, while Romney garnered 31%, Texas Gov. Rick Perry 8%, and both Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich 6%.
When surveying a wider swath of Republicans in Florida, 30% of respondents chose Romney as their candidate while 29% chose Cain. Those numbers include a sampling of all Republicans in the Sunshine State, rather than just likely GOP voters.
The poll also shows a tight matchup in Florida between Pres. Barack Obama and his GOP rivals. When paired with Romney, Obama received 45% and Romney received 43%. The gap was bigger with other potential rivals, including Cain. In that pairing, Obama got 47% compared to Cain's 41%.
In South Carolina Cain took 30% of likely GOP primary voters, with Romney following at 26%, Perry at 9%, Gingrich at 6%, and both Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Paul at 5%.
The broader pool of Republicans in South Carolina showed Cain received 28% of the vote and Romney 27%.
Both South Carolina and Florida are considered key voting states in the early primary and caucus season. South Carolina has scheduled its first-in-the-South contest for Jan. 21, and Florida will hold their primary on Jan. 31.
The South Carolina survey was conducted by telephone Oct. 11-13 from 630 adults, and had a sampling error of plus or minus 3.9%.
In the Florida survey, 524 adults were polled by telephone between Oct.10-12. The sampling error in the poll was 4.3%.