There’s a good chance those assessments are wrong, or at least seriously premature. Talks with voters here in Iowa suggest two things. The first is that the still-sketchy details of the Cain controversy have not fully sunk in with people who are not following events in Washington moment-to-moment. And two, some voters’ continued approval of Cain is based on the condition that there be no more damaging revelations in the case and, indeed, that nothing else go wrong with his candidacy — a tough condition for Cain to meet, if the experience of the last week is any guide…

“The story is unfolding, and I think it would be premature for anybody to put a period after this one,” says one well-connected Iowa evangelical activist. “What Herman has to be concerned about is the evolving nature of his comments, meaning he’s gaining a bit of a track record. Negotiating for terrorists, abortion, and now, did you know about this settlement? If this story continues to grow, the last thing Herman Cain wants is for caucus-goers to go to the caucus on January 3 with more questions than answers about his ability to be president.”…

Another factor in Cain’s standing here in Iowa is the gap in his support between men and women. “Cain already has a gender gap among likely Republican caucusgoers in Iowa,” writes Des Moines register columnist Kathie Obradovich. “Women prefer Mitt Romney over Cain, 27 percent to 17 percent, according to the Register’s Iowa Poll, released Saturday. Cain’s handling of these allegations, which leaves the door open for a steady drip of negative revelations, won’t help him win over female caucusgoers.”