Lightning strikes twice: Cain 27, Romney 23, Perry 16, Paul 11

posted at 9:38 pm on October 12, 2011 by Allahpundit

In case you thought the PPP poll was a fluke, rest assured that he really is the frontrunner now.

In the previous survey, conducted in late August, Perry led the field at 38 percent, Romney stood at 23 percent, while Cain was at only 5 percent.

Cain’s numbers are sky-high among Republican primary voters. Fifty-two percent view him favorably, versus just 6 percent who see him unfavorably. Among Tea Party supporters, his favorable/unfavorable score is 69 percent to 5 percent. And among Republicans who identify themselves as “very conservative,” it’s 72 percent to 2 percent.

In follow-up interviews with respondents supporting Cain, they argue that he’s not a politician, and that he seems real. “He has common-sense answers and is in touch with the heartbeat of America,” said one respondent, a 46-year-old male from Florida…

Despite Cain’s rise and Perry’s fall over the past month and a half, Romney’s standing in the Republican horse race hasn’t changed—it was 23 percent in August, and it’s unchanged at 23 percent now.

Perry’s lost 22 points since the last poll — and not a single one went to Romney. That’s how reluctant base voters are to back him over some other conservative in the field. The good news for Romney is that he still has an electability argument against Perry. His favorables are 27/29 overall and he trails Obama by just two points head-to-head. Perry’s favorables are 19/36(!) and O leads him by an even dozen, 51/39, in a hypothetical match-up; Perry also trailed Obama by double digits in Rasmussen’s latest poll released this morning. (Cain’s favorables are 24/18 but, being mostly unknown, he trails Obama 49/38.) More interesting are the numbers for Romney and Perry among Republican voters. Mitt, the great RINO flip-flopper, has a favorable rating of 51/16 compared to just 43/23 for Perry. Even Gingrich, at 49/23, does better than that. Romney also beats Perry head-to-head, 54/39, and incredibly leads him ever so slightly when Republicans are asked how much a candidate shares their position on the issues. Here’s Romney’s line on that:

The first column is the number who rate him as “very good” (5 on a scale of 5), the second column is 4 on a scale of 5, etc. Here’s Perry’s line:

Amazing given that the whole reason Perry got into the race was because the base wanted a “Not Romney” who … shared their positions on the issues! Even more inexplicably, compare how Perry’s key vulnerability fares among Republicans with Romney’s key vulnerability. The “Ponzi scheme” rhetoric is no problem — in the primary, that is:

What is a problem, despite Chris Christie’s insistence that it’s intellectually dishonest to compare RomneyCare to ObamaCare, are health-care mandates at the state level. Here’s how primary voters responded when asked, respectively, whether a particular position makes them much more likely, somewhat more likely, somewhat less likely, or much less likely to vote for a candidate:

And here’s what they said about Romney specifically:

Not only is this issue toxic with Republicans, it’s become more toxic over the past three months — and yet Romney still clobbers Perry head to head. I wonder why. Could … this explain it? (Again, the columns represent much/somewhat more likely and somewhat/much less likely.)

Given Perry’s trajectory, the only path he has now to the nomination is by completely backing into it. Cain has to implode somehow, possibly by showing that he has less of a grasp on the issues than Perry (which wouldn’t be easy at this point), and then Perry would have to convince wary Republicans that Romney’s health-care heresy is so grave that it’s worth nominating him even though Romney’s better liked by the general electorate and almost certainly more electable against Obama. Good luck.

There’s actually quite a bit of good news for Obama in this poll too — the public supports his jobs bill, 63/32, supports raising taxes on “the wealthy” and corporations, 64/31, and supports Occupy Wall Street 38/17 — but I want to end on a positive note so I’ll leave you with two encouraging data points. One: On the question of whether people “feel comfortable” with Romney and don’t worry that his Mormonism will influence his decisions, the split among the general public is 47/21. Among Republicans, it’s 66/13. And two: You know that Mediscare campaign that Democrats are preparing to roll out next fall? It’s not as much of a winner as they might wish. Behold the results when voters are asked whether the issue would make them much/somewhat more likely to vote for a candidate or somewhat/much less:

Paul Ryan 1, Obama 0?

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It’s not a mere desire anymore. It’s a requirement. This is what has changed, and why Romney is a relic from an era of Republican succession. We are different; Obama has changed us, and so has the taste of what we know is possible — with inspiration and great sacrific. But the spiritually crushing effect of a Romney candidacy is incalculable. It is why he and the establishment are so desperate to lock this down fast.

rrpjr on October 13, 2011 at 11:34 AM

And why we will lose if Romney is our nominee. Could not agree more.

Irritable Pundit on October 13, 2011 at 11:57 AM

Romney has been stuck at 22-23% for months. Even when Pawlenty dropped out and endorsed him, Romney didn’t pick up his 2%. It looks to me like we’ll have a 4 man race soon – Cain, Romney, Gingrich and Perry (Paul will hang around to the end even though, in reality, he and I share roughly the same odds of winning the nomination)- and I’d bet my house Romney doesn’t get any bump when Santorum and Bachmann drop out. He may get half of Huntsman’s 0.5%.

Wingo on October 13, 2011 at 12:24 PM

I love the reasoning some have for supporting Romney. He has to be the candidate because he’s sure to beat obama!!!11!!

You’d think the fact that the dems also want Romney would be a clue. They wanted McCain and we see how that went. Even if Romney did win, he’s a dem for all intensive purposes. If Romney wins, we the people lose.

Hard Right on October 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Stick with Newt…he blathers but he’s thought through most issues and would be able to justify his actions.

I meant this to look like this.

gracie on October 13, 2011 at 10:51 AM

I love me some Newt.

Punchenko on October 13, 2011 at 3:17 PM

I love the reasoning some have for supporting Romney. He has to be the candidate because he’s sure to beat obama!!!11!!

You’d think the fact that the dems also want Romney would be a clue. They wanted McCain and we see how that went. Even if Romney did win, he’s a dem for all intensive purposes. If Romney wins, we the people lose.

Hard Right on October 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM

Oh, I don’t know. Back in 2008 guys like Rush Limbaugh were calling someone else a Rino and saying that Romney was the conservative of course Rush is saying something different. As if Romney today and Romney 4 years ago were different people. I think some people just wanted Rick Perry to win and he let them down and so now they have to crush Romney and build up Cain. Don’t get me wrong, I like Cain a lot..but he will be getting more scrutiny now that his numbers are up. And it remains to be seen how that all works out.

Terrye on October 13, 2011 at 5:09 PM

If this real it is absurd. Cain would get torn to pieces by the Obama political machine. Plunging a noob into a race for the highest political office in the world and expecting him to fare well against Obama and his criminal accomplices in the media is so unbelievable its almost satirical.

TonyR on October 13, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Terrye, I don’t care what Rush said. Romney is a lib. To repeat myself, that is why the dems want him. Even if he beats obama, we still lose. He will continue the status quo. If you can’t see that then their is nothing more to say to you.

So Tony, your proposal is to select Romney? He’ll get just as shredded and be everything we don’t need or want in the WH IF he wins. We’ve tried the “safe and moderate” candidates before and look where that got us.
Look, Sarah isn’t going to run. Perry has imploded and Bachman is toast. Cain is the best bet we have to take the WH and get done what needs to be done to save the country.
Oh and Tony, you sound like a concern troll more interested in torpedoing Cain then helping the country.

Hard Right on October 13, 2011 at 10:07 PM