Now that we’ve had a solid week of accusations against presidential candidate Herman Cain, where do things stand in the race for the White House? Cain has been the prime news topic, but other campaigns have been drawn into the controversy as well. Has all of this shaken up the polls? Has someone risen while another has fallen? No. Despite the media feeding frenzy, at least for now, the frontrunners in the race to take on Barack Obama in 2012 are still Herman Cain and Mitt Romney.
In a new Rasmussen Reports poll taken after the allegations of sexual harassment surfaced against Herman Cain, the Georgia businessman leads the field. Cain drew the support of 26% of those polled, while Romney was in second with 23%. The only other candidate drawing double-digit support is Newt Gingrich with 14%.
Former GOP frontrunner Rick Perry polled at 8% followed by Rep. Ron Paul at 7%. The rest of the field garnered no more than 2% support.
While Cain’s edge over Romney is within the margin of error, this is the first time the former CEO has held any sort of lead in a national primary poll. Last month, Cain and Romney were tied at 29% each. In September, Cain picked up just seven percent (7%) of the vote and Perry was the frontrunner.
The latest survey was conducted Wednesday night, after three full days of press coverage about the sexual harassment allegations against Cain.
It’s clear that Cain’s support is coming from the conservative end of the spectrum. As Rasmussen notes, “Cain leads among GOP voters who consider themselves Very Conservative with 38% of the vote. Among those who are Somewhat Conservative, Romney picks up 28% of the vote while Cain draws support from 24%.” So, how do the sexual harassment allegations sit with the voters? They are split.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 39% believe the allegations against Cain are at least somewhat likely to be serious and true. Thirty-eight percent (38%) disagree and 23% are not sure. Those figures include 17% who believe it’s Very Likely and 11% who say Not at All Likely.
Rasmussen notes that “two-thirds of America’s voters recognize that Herman Cain is the Republican candidate who has been accused of sexual harassment.” This could be significant because it’s often the allegation and not the guilt or innocence that matters in the minds of voters. Accuse someone of something — anything — and the accusation lingers, and the person accused is tainted. The question is how badly is Cain tainted from all this? If other campaigns are shown to be involved in digging up the story, will they face the wrath of the voters as well?
The GOP continues to look good heading into next year. Obama’s poll numbers are in the tank. Rasmussen’s presidential tracking poll reveals that for the full month of October, “the president’s Approval Index rating fell to the lowest level yet measured for this president.” Only 17% of Americans feel the country is heading in the right direction, and the GOP continues to lead the Democrats in the generic congressional ballot.
All of these factors indicate that the election is ours for the taking. We just need to survive the primary process first.