A new poll of likely Florida primary voters out October 3rd shows businessman Herman Cain only 4 points behind former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. Given Florida’s decision to move their primary to January 31st, this contest will carry more weight as we move forward.

Report from TampaBay.com:

Debates matter. So did Florida’s straw poll. Just ask two guys: Herman Cain and Rick Perry.

Cain is now running in second place in Florida now that his support surged nearly 19 percentage points after last month’s Republican Party of Florida’s Presidency 5 debate and straw poll, according to a survey of likely Florida voters conducted by Gainesville-based War Room Logistics, which typically polls for Republicans.

Meantime, Perry’s support plummeted nearly 16 percentage points.

Perry had been tied as a Florida frontrunner with Mitt Romney at about 25 percent on Sept. 20, dropped to third/fourth place with 9 percent of the vote where he’s statistically tied with Newt Gingrich (10 percent).

Romney’s support grew a modest 3 percentage points, to 28 percent.

Seeing see Perry down at 9% and out of the top three must be semi-worrisome for his campaign. Clearly his lackluster debate performances have registered with voters and he hasn’t yet stopped the bleeding.

Meanwhile, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann is in some serious trouble given her collapsed poll numbers and now news that some of her top campaign advisers are departing:

ST. PAUL Minn. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is losing her pollster and senior adviser in a staff exodus that raises questions about the viability of her White House bid and her campaign finances.

Pollster Ed Goeas plans to leave the campaign after upcoming debates in New Hampshire and Nevada, and senior adviser Andy Parrish is returning to the Minnesota congresswoman’s office where he served as chief of staff.

“Given the changing caucus and primary schedule, we will not be utilizing full-time polling consultants and (will) concentrate heavily on retail politics in Iowa,” said Alice Stewart, a Bachmann spokeswoman. “Ed will work on several projects with us this month, then we shift focus to Iowa and he will shift to other projects not associated with the campaign.”

An adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel moves confirmed Parrish’s departure. Parrish had moved to Iowa last summer to build support before the state’s leadoff 2012 caucuses.

The moves signal an effort to preserve money three months ahead of the first Republican nominating contests. Bachmann began July with about $3.6 million, most of which had been transferred from her congressional campaign account.

Bachmann has struggled to match her vast reach among small-dollar givers with checks near the $2,500 maximum donation. An update on her campaign’s financial health is due by Oct. 15.

The Bachmann campaign says there is no reason for alarm and these these changes are routine, however, we’ll see what happens come the October 15th reporting deadline for 3rd quarter fundraising. Perhaps that will tell more of the story.