Poll: Three-way battle for GOP nomination
November 11th, 2011
11:04 AM ET
7 years ago

Poll: Three-way battle for GOP nomination

(CNN) – Businessman Herman Cain ranks number one in a survey released Friday, with more than half of likely GOP primary voters saying the allegations of sexual harassment against him will not make a difference in how they vote.

In a real-life illustration of the tortoise-and-hare scenario laid out by Newt Gingrich in an interview Tuesday, the former House Speaker caught up with GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in the CBS News poll. He tied with the former governor of Massachusetts in second.

But sandwiched between the first and second candidate spots are 17% of Republican primary voters who remain undecided about who they'll support for the 2012 GOP nomination for president.

Cain took the top spot in the survey with 18% support followed closely by Romney and Gingrich who net 15% each. The three-point margin between the top three candidates is with the sampling error for the poll, indicating that Cain, Gingrich, and Romney are statistically tied.

And although 61% of likely GOP primary voters say accusations of sexual harassment won't make any difference in their vote, three in 10 say the allegations make them less likely to support his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, a number that increases by seven when it comes to women.

But Cain isn't concerned with those numbers. In an interview for the Fred Dicker talk radio show, the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza said, "There's good news and bad news in that, the good news is only a minimal number of people have been influenced by the mere allegations... that was to be expected."

"Here's the good news," Cain continued. "I am still right there at the top and I expected Newt Gingrich to continue to move up because he's done a great job at the debates...he's been relentless plus he's got a lot of experience that a lot of people respect."

"The good news is it hasn't destroyed my campaign, it's created a cloud over it in some people's minds, and when people really think about, these are allegations that I faced and categorically denied. I think the reality is going to set in with a lot of people and further down the road, it's not going to be as big a deal as it is."

In fact, Cain's popularity is divided along gender lines and losing among women. The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza has always performed better among women than men, but in late October a CBS poll indicated 28% of women backed Cain, a number that has dropped 13 percentage points in the new survey.

Overall, support for Cain and Romney has declined as Gingrich supporters have slowly increased. Still, seven in 10 state it is too early to say for sure which candidate they will support for
the nomination.

But for his part, Gingrich wasn't overly impressed by his finish in the survey. Following a Veterans Day event in New Hampshire, he told reporters, "I think the real meaning of the poll is when the frontrunner's at 18 and the next two are tied at 15%, it is a wide-open race… I think it'll stay wide open until January."

"What it means is that all this effort to create a two-man race or all this effort that Romney is the inevitable nominee, nobody is far enough ahead to mean anything," Gingrich argued.

The CBS poll was conducted by telephone from November 6-10 among 1,029 registered voters and 382 who said they plan to vote in a Republican primary. The overall sampling error for the poll is plus or minus three percentage points. The sampling error of Republican primary voters is plus or minus five percentage points.

Also see:

Santorum's 'oops' on Perry gaffe

Anita Perry on husband: He remembered something else...

After debate, Romney dodges Perry questions and focuses on Michigan roots

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • Polls
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Rick McDaniel

    One way for some.

    November 11, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Jariv

    Romney 2012! Cain is not the best choice and Gingrich is full of baggage its just not right that that man becomes a president. That talks bad about the USA around the world. Adding to the dislike of the USA around the world. Romney is a man of principles and if you do the research of his history (Not listening to the people talking about his flip flopping) you will find he is smart and the most competent man to become president of this great nation.

    November 11, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  3. Peace

    Whats wrong with GOP? Why are you showing the world that you are notorious at the same time stubborn? What do you find in Mr. 999 which the rest of us do not see??? Is this man your choice really to lead the free world? Really????

    November 11, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  4. Jim

    Peace –

    One can say the exact same thing about Democrats and Obama – most of the US voting population doesn't want him either but he's still on the ticket with no opponents in the party unlike Cain.

    November 11, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  5. JB

    I see. If a lot of polls have Ron Paul in third place, just don't talk about third place. If a scant few have someone else in third place, feel free to discuss third place. The standard of journalism today is disgusting.

    November 11, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. 356 days and no more Obama

    Any Republican candidate would easily beat Obama, Romney, Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich, Cain or Paul could easily beat Obama in a massive land slide win in the 2012 election. When the Republican candidate debates Obama and brings up the Obama and the Democrats record in Congress since 2007 it’s over; the polls don’t even matter. In 2010 the Democratic lose was a slaughter; the 2012 election cycle is going to be a massacre.

    November 11, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    I think that the Republican polls have shown us the mindset of conservatives. They seem to think that the best approach to running a government is running a business. That government should place business interests above those of the people. It is time to ask this rhetorical question again?

    What is the difference in a society where the government that controls the businesses, and a society where government is controlled by the businesses? From the perspective of the average citizen (99%), there isn't any difference. It will look exactly the same.

    November 11, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Cain, Romney or Gingrich, doesn't matter. ANY of them would be better than the unmitigated disaster occupying the Whitehouse now.

    November 11, 2011 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "What it means is that all this effort to create a two-man race or all this effort that Romney is the inevitable nominee, nobody is far enough ahead to mean anything," Gingrich argued."

    You've got that right, Mr. Newt. Fact is, if I were a Republican, I'd have a hard time choosing between the lot of you myself ... but for reasons you probably wouldn't accept, or understand.

    November 11, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    356, you keep thinking that: its fun to watch Cons in denial about their failure to lead and abject cowardice in admitting their role in destroying our economy, but, unfortunately once again its the Dems who have to clean up after the GOP. Conservatism=irresponsibility and immaturity.

    November 11, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. Peace


    Peace –

    "One can say the exact same thing about Democrats and Obama – most of the US voting population doesn't want him either but he's still on the ticket with no opponents in the party unlike Cain."

    I do think you are mixing up things (the apples, oranges, mangoes, whatever of your man Cain). Please do not mix up approval polls and the liking. What am talking about in your man Cain is "liking" and not approval as he has done totally nothing to the nation. We like people of what they say/do. Can you enlighten me what you like in Cain which will not make other people cling!

    November 11, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Bill from GA

    I guess repugs no longer identify with the term 'Moral Majority'.

    November 11, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Simple what this polls says 85% not for Romney. if we do the math once elimination process start Rick Perry (he will bounce back ) or Herman Cain will win the nomination

    Past 4 years 75% said no to Romney

    November 11, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  14. A. Goodwin

    Wow, I really am in shock that Cain is still in first place. I mean, REALLY? The man has no idea what is going on in the Middle-East (remember his now famous Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan line); he barely has a clue about economics (his 9-9-9 plan has been widely seen as a tax break for the rich and adding the burden to the middle and lower class); and lets not forget that his business qualifications seem way overblown (When he became the head of Godfather's, he ended up closing 200 stores and thousands were put out of work).

    As an independent, I'm really saddened that the reality is – anyone on the GOP side with TRUE qualifications to be president (like Huntsman, Johnson, or Roemer) will never get the primary nod.

    You know things are getting BAD when Newt is now in 3rd place. None of the top candidates can win the general election given that the biggest group of individuals who vote are moderates/centrists/independents – many of whom voted for Obama in 2008.

    November 11, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. REG in AZ

    Those who say the "accusations against Cain won't matter", are sick and a real sign of what can stink in America. Self-interests above all else; the "more" for me for nothing mentality; the I don't care how or who, all I care about is what I want; that sickness will always come back to you. If you teach your dog to bite, your are going to get bit; if you accept character flaws, then don't expect quality. And, if that is the best they have to offer, they sure shouldn't expect to win as that is like going as a bum to the best dressed contest.

    November 11, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. Maine LIberal

    18 percent is top.. there is more bottom to that than top

    November 11, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Marry

    Perhaps it is about time to ask these GOP/TP “pretenders” the all-important question:”…and what do you think a President does?” Good grief, what a circus!

    November 11, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. REG in AZ

    Cain is offering himself as a "puppet" to the powers that own and control the Republican Party today. Like GWBush was, he would respond to how ever they "pull his strings", which is what they really want to return to. Cain isn't the only one, in fact, the Republican Party has evolved to exist based on the strong financial and overt and covert support of the few who control them. Grover Norquist has made that totally clear in his actions and statements, one being, "The qualifications of the next Republican president don't matter, as all they will have to do is sign the bills sent them by Boehner and McConnell". That is not only disgusting and insulting, taking the public for granted, but it is also absolutely scary – returning to "more of the same", Bush-Cheney style, is to continue the downslide for the majority, including the total middle-class..

    November 11, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. LegendRx

    This poll and most of the bloggers here are in such denial about the republican candidates. No way can these, I really don't know what to call them, any way, they cannot come close to Our President's leadership and moral stewardship. You know these guys are sent from hell to maim, lame, blame and to bear false witness. Obama is the truth that the republicans leadership stumble over, they get up like it never happened.

    November 11, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  20. Yellow-Rose

    There's no doubt that Mr. Cain would do a far better job as President than what we have in there now.

    November 11, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  21. hellish

    rron paul 2012,would bring happiness to america,to get our government back on tract for the american citizen.

    November 11, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. krissmith777

    I am still a Romney supporter, but I am glad to see that the media seems less able to chose the nominee. They smeared Hillary, and they smeared McCain.. No more of that!

    November 11, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Dan Druff

    How can the Repubs not value women but yet ask for their vote?

    November 11, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. William Fogarty

    The constant by news media....is to show no momentum at all for Ron Paul, alas to convince the voters that their vote would be wasted!!

    November 11, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Max Powers

    The pool is so evenly divided because the GOP doesn't care who wins the nomination, they want to vote for Obama!

    November 11, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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