Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Herman Cain leads Romney by 4 points, double digits among Tea Party

According to a CBS poll just released, Herman Cain who was tied with Romney in the polls a month ago at 17% each now leads Romney by 4 points (25% to 21%) among likely Republican primary voters. Gingrich is now comes in third beating out Rick Perry who continues his slide.  Perry now gets the support of only 6% of Republicans, down from a lead of 23% in September.  Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman are barely in the race.

Herman Cain is well ahead of Romney and Gingrich among Tea Party members with support from 32% compared to 18% for Romney and 15% for Gingrich.

 In an earlier post, I said we should not discount Cain.  The chances are he will run out of money or, more likely, make some major gaff that he can't just pass off as a joke.  On the other hand, he seems to have a charismatic appeal to many Republican voters, particular Tea Party supporters, who just aren't comfortable with Romney.  The field is certain to narrow with Bachmann, Huntsman and Santorum the most likely candidates to drop out first.  Perry has a lot of money and new advisers but it remains to be seen if he can turn around a disastrous slide in the polls.  If Perry goes, it is not unreasonable to see Cain picking up his supporters along with those of Bachmann.  That would put Cain over 40%. with Romney left to hope that Gingrich or Paul or both would drop out after the early primaries and throw support to him.  What I'm saying is that it is feasible that the race will end up being between Romney and Cain, not Romney and Perry which most have people have assumed.  So, there is a path through which Cain could secure the nomination, even though it may be a narrow one.  

It is surprising that given Cain's rapid rise in the polls, Perry's decline, and Romney's inability to gain much traction that little has been written about how Cain might fair in a general election going against Obama.  Would he, for example, be easier for Obama to beat than Romney?  How might the anti-Washington mood of the country play to Cain's advantage?  Could Cain, who has never won elective office, not even at the local level, actually make a showing in a presidential race?  Would Cain, who has already demonstrated some serious foot-in-mouth problems avoid such mistakes in a race against Obama?  Of course, Romney may surge or Perry make come back or Cain could implode and Herman Cain might be left to going back to being a lobbyist or pizza maker.  The next few months will tell.

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