Cain can win

2. Cain has room to grow: Nearly one in four Republicans (23 percent) in the NBC-WSJ survey didn’t know enough about Cain to offer an opinion on him. Just six percent had no opinion of Romney and 11 percent didn’t know enough about Perry to rate him. That means that Cain — unlike either of his two main opponents — still has a ways to go until he reaches his political ceiling. Combine that with the fact that the people who know Cain really like him (52 percent have a favorable impression,while just 6 percent have a negative one) and there’s clearly room for growth there.

3. Ideology trumps electability: A near-majority (46 percent) of Republicans said the most important thing to them in a presidential nominee was “a candidate who comes closest to your views on issues” while another 33 percent said they valued the “right personal style and strong leadership qualities” in a candidate. Just 20 percent said they preferred a candidate with the best chance to beat President Obama. It’s hard to argue that Cain is positioned anywhere but to the ideological right of Romney, putting him more in line with the average primary voter. And, while it’s somewhat debateable which of the two men have the “right personal style”, Cain is clearly the more charismatic of the duo.

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