(CNN) – A new poll puts Herman Cain ahead of Mitt Romney by seven percentage points in the GOP presidential race, reflecting a margin wider than the sampling error.
Cain and Romney competed for the top spot in national polls for much of October, but a Quinnipiac University Poll released Wednesday shows Cain breaking ahead to take a solid lead.
Cain took 30% of support among registered Republican voters, according to the survey, with Romney following at 23%.
The poll, taken almost entirely before reports emerged of sexual allegations against Cain, also reveals Cain leading in a hypothetical matchup against Romney, 47% to 39%.
But Romney fared better than Cain in a hypothetical contest with President Barack Obama, scoring 42% to Obama's 47%. Cain came in at 40%, against Obama at 50%.
Also significant, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich came in third with 10% of support, up from the mid-single digit status he's maintained in recent months.
The poll reflects a recent uptick in fundraising for Gingrich, who touted bringing in more money in October than in the previous three months combined.
Coming in fourth place, Texas Gov. Rick Perry had 8%. Texas Rep. Ron Paul followed at 7%, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at 4%, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 2% and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at 1%.
For the Republican presidential poll, Quinnipiac surveyed 869 Republican voters from Oct. 25-Oct. 31, with a sampling error of 3.3 percentage points.
The poll also showed big gains in Obama's approval ratings, jumping from a 41% approval rating in the first week of October to a 47% approval rating in the poll released this week.
Quinnipiac surveyed a total 2,294 registered voters over the telephone from Oct. 25-Oct. 31, with a sampling error of plus or minus 2.1 percentage points.
- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.