Oct 12, 2011 1 Comment ›› Pat Dollard
Yesterday PPP released numbers showing Herman Cain leading Mitt Romney 30–22 in Iowa and our monthly look at the national picture finds the exact same numbers. Cain is up 30–22 on Romney with Newt Gingrich sneaking past Rick Perry for 3rd place at 15% to Perry’s 14% with Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul tied for 5th at 5%, Jon Huntsman 7th at 2%, Rick Santorum 8th at 1%, and Gary Johnson 9th with less than 1%.
Strong Tea Party support has Cain in the driver’s seat nationally, just as he has been on our last four individual state polls. With non-Tea Party Republicans Romney actually leads Cain 29–27. But with the Tea Party crowd Cain is getting 39% with Gingrich at 16%, Perry at 14%, and Romney in 4th place at 13%. Romney doesn’t need to win the Tea Partiers to be the Republican nominee. But he does need to finish better than 4th with them.
There are indications within the poll that Cain’s stay at the top could be short lived. Only 30% of his supporters are solidly committed to him with 70% saying they might still go on to support someone else. Those numbers aren’t much better for Romney, who only has 31% of his supporters solidly committed, or Gingrich, who only has 34% solidly committed. The strongest base of support among the Republican front runners — even if it’s shrinking — is Perry’s — 48% of his remaining backers say they’ll definitely vote for him. Overall 70% of Republicans are either undecided right now or open to voting for someone different than who they’re with now — that signals an extremely wide open race.