Republican presidential candidates watch a video of fellow candidate Herman Cain during a Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire October 11, 2011
Here’s how much political trouble President Obama is in: A new poll by the authoritative Evolving Strategies firm finds that Herman Cain, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney would all beat Obama it the election were held today.
- Despite several bad debate performances by Perry in September, when respondents watched a clip of the Texas governor, he actually gained more support than any of the other candidates and beat Obama by 6-points, 42-36.
- Now Romney had a slightly higher margin—he beat Obama by 7-points 40-33, but he did it with less support. He got less support than Perry, but so did Obama, and there were more people who were uncertain about him, which doesn’t come as a surprise—there’s clearly been a lot of dissatisfaction with Romney as the establishment candidate.
- Finally, the candidate we’re all most interested in—Herman Cain. The question is can he win the Republican primary? And can he win the general election? Well, he can certainly win the Republican primary. Across all treatments, when asked to choose among the eight GOP candidates, Cain won handily with 28 percent of the vote, followed by Romney at 19 percent and Perry at 12 percent.
- When it comes to a general election, Cain barely edged out Obama 35-34, but he moved from 5 points down in the control group with the generic Republican to 1 point up. And this jump came entirely out of Obama’s vote. It’s clear a lot of uncertainty remains in the general population about Cain—for starters he doesn’t “look like” the stereotypical GOP candidate. And he certainly doesn’t have the typical political background. But despite all that, people seem willing to give him a look – and when they get a look at him, he’s running even with Obama. What will be interesting to see is whether all those uncertain votes become more certain about Herman Cain when they get to see more of him.
So, the line that Mitt Romney is the only Republican that can beat Obama won’t fly just quite yet.
But, from the pundit reactions from last night’s debate, it looks like the GOP Establishment types are already circling the wagons for Romney.