Despite Allegations, Cain's SC Lead Widening
Georgia businessman Herman Cain has opened a 10-point lead on former Gov. Mitt Romney and others.
Despite two days of allegations of sexual harassment dating back to the 1990s, Georgia businessman Herman Cain's meteoric rise to the top of the GOP polls continues.
In the first Rasmussen Reports poll of likely S.C. Republican primary voters conducted Tuesday, Cain carried 33 percent of the support, followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 23 percent.
Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the only other candidate in double-figures at 15 percent, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry (9 percent), Rep. Ron Paul (5 percent), Rep. Michele Bachmann (2 percent), former Sen. Rick Santorum (1 percent) and former Gov. Jon Huntsman (1 percent) trailed the field.
Huntsman is in the state for three days this week, while most of the candidates will return to Spartanburg Nov. 12 for the first nationally televised debate of the primary season.
Cain's strong showing equals that in Iowa and New Hampshire prior to the allegations. He finished first in Iowa and second in New Hampshire (behind Romney) in recent polling.
Cain's rise to the top is equal to that of Perry, who soared after his summer announcement in Charleston but quickly faded as his debate performances disappointed. Despite Cain's strong support in early primary/ caucus state polling, however, 44 percent of those polled said they expected Romney to eventually win the nomination.
Three-fourths of those polled knew that Cain had been accused of sexually harassing women at the National Restaurant Association. But only 30 percent of the 700 respondents believe the allegations are "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to be true.
Cain's base of support comes from those who identify themselves as very conservative. Those polled said they planned to vote for Cain, 40 percent to 25 percent over Gingrich, who came in second. Less conservative Republicans chose Cain slightly over Romney. And moderate Republicans chose Romney slightly over Cain.
The good news for Romney is that only 28 percent said they were certain of their voting plans for the Jan. 21 primary at this juncture. The bad news: 30 percent said they "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to support a third-party candidate if Romney is the nominee.