Is Herman Cain electable? As he keeps the nation’s attention on his unorthodox run for the Republican presidential nomination, Cain has begun to show strength in general-election polling at Rasmussen. In today’s poll, he becomes only the second Republican to take a lead over Obama among likely voters in their surveys:
Whether Herman Cain’s surge in the polls is temporary or has staying power, he’s enjoying a big enough bounce to take a very slight lead over President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. At the moment, the Georgia businessman is the only Republican with a lead of any kind over Obama, although former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has held a similar advantage several times and is currently trailing the president by just two points.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Cain attracting 43% support, while Obama earns 41%. Given such a matchup, eight percent (8%) prefer some other candidate, and another eight percent (8%) are undecided.
According to Rasmussen, the only other Republican candidate to lead Obama in this series was Rick Perry, whose electability at the time was his greatest asset. Perry has stumbled considerably since, dropping to 14 points back of Obama in a survey last week, 35/49. Romney came close to Obama two weeks ago, trailing only 41/43.
In the crosstabs, Cain picks up support from voters 40 years and older, winning a 16-point majority among seniors (50/34), but losing 18-29YOs by almost the same margin (35/50) and narrowly losing thirtysomethings, 38/43. Cain only gets 4% of the black vote, an outcome that should remind people that blacks vote with Democrats largely because they share their policy positions. Cain wins a 21-point plurality among independents, 48/29, which should open a few eyes to the reality that regardless of political experience, people are looking for a genuine alternative to Obama.
Interestingly, all of the income demos give narrow splits. Obama wins the under-$20K by only six points despite his recent class-warfare schtick, 39/45. Cain wins every other income demo by six or fewer points, including a narrow 46/44 in the $100K+ demo. Just as curiously, Obama only beats Cain among union households by a seven-point plurality (44/37), while Cain wins non-union households by an even narrower margin of 44/41. Obama beats Cain among those who reject Tea Party affiliation, but only by fifteen points, 34/49. Those who embrace the Tea Party support Cain head to head by 86/7, not surprisingly, while those who are not sure support Cain by 21 points, 48/27.
What does this tell us? Cain seems to be gaining credibility as a candidate on the national stage. That doesn’t necessarily address issues about his organization and his campaign strategy, but it does rebut the notion that no one would take Cain seriously as a nominee if he managed to win in the primaries.