Cain Leads Republican Presidential Race, Romney Second

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 2, 2011   |   11:06AM   |   Washington, DC

A new national poll released by Quinnipiac University finds pro-life Republican businessman Herman Cain leads the GOP presidential race and a new Rasmussen poll shows he leads in the early battleground state of South Carolina as well.

Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain leads the Republican presidential primary field with the support of 30 percent of Republican voters, the Quinnipiac poll found.

Cain is followed by a group of candidates also campaigning on the pro-life position. He is followed by former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 23 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with 10 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry with 8 percent. No other candidate receives more than 7 percent of the support of Republican voters.

Cain also leads a head-to-head GOP race with Romney 47 – 39 percent, coming close to the critical 50 percent mark, even though more Republicans think Romney has the knowledge and experience to be president.

Cain is likeable, American voters say 61 – 19 percent, including 82 – 5 percent among Republicans, compared to Romney, who is seen as likeable 61 – 22 percent among all voters and 76 – 13 percent among Republicans. Voters say 49 – 29 percent, however, that Cain does not have “the knowledge and experience necessary to be a good president.” Republicans say 54 – 26 percent he has the knowledge and experience. Romney has the right stuff, voters say 51 – 32 percent, with 75 – 13 percent among Republicans.

By 41 – 14 percent all voters say Cain’s never having held public office made them less likely to vote for him, while 43 percent say it makes no difference. Republicans agree 34 – 20 percent, as 44 percent say it makes no difference.

Picking a winner of the GOP debates so far, 25 percent of Republicans pick Gingrich and 24 percent pick Romney. Picking a loser is no contest as 37 percent say Perry did worst.

“Cain’s lead in the horse race is built on voters’ positive views of him personally, but there are warning signs that his lack of political experience could make it difficult for him to eventually close the sale,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, a new Rasmussen poll shows Cain leads the field with Romney ten points behind and Gingrich is the only other candidate in double digits. The results came in as follows: Cain 33% Romney 23% Gingrich 15%.

The survey was conducted on Tuesday night following two days of media coverage concerning allegations of sexual harassment against Cain. In polling conducted before the latest allegations, Cain led in Iowa with Romney second while Romney led in New Hampshire with Cain second.

The Quinnipiac poll shows Obama continues to fare well against the potential Republican nominees. He leads     47 – 42 percent over Romney, compared to a 46 – 42 percent Romney lead October 5; he leads 52 – 36 percent over Perry, up from a 45 – 44 percent tie last month; Obama leads 50 – 40 percent over Cain, who was not included in a matchup last month; and he leads 52 – 37 percent over Gingrich, who was not matched last month.