CNN Poll: The secret to Cain's rising numbers
October 18th, 2011
06:00 AM ET
11 years ago

CNN Poll: The secret to Cain's rising numbers

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - What's the secret to Herman Cain's recent surge in polls in the race for the GOP presidential nomination?

A new national survey out hours before a CNN/Western Republican presidential debate points towards likeability and the businessman and former Godfather's Pizza CEO's much touted "9-9-9" tax reform plan.

See full results (PDF)

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, October 18, in the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. Submit your questions for the debate here.

According to the CNN/ORC International Poll released Tuesday morning, 34% of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP say that Cain is the most likable candidate in the race, putting him at the top of the list a few points ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

"The same pattern holds when we ask about the economy," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Among Republicans, 33% say that Cain is most likely to get the economy moving, again putting him in the top spot."

But electability may be Cain's Achilles heel. Only 18% of Republicans say that Cain is most likely to win the GOP nomination, and only a quarter say he has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama in the general election.

Who is the most electable candidate, according to GOP voters?

"Mitt Romney - and it's not even close," says Holland. "Four in ten Republicans say that Romney is most likely to get the party's nomination, and 51% say he has the best chance of beating Obama in the fall. On both those measures, Romney's numbers have improved dramatically, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been sinking like a stone."

In September, 41% thought Perry had the best chance to win the nomination; that's now down to 14%. More than four in ten thought in September that the Texas governor had the best chance to beat Obama; that has dropped 30 points. Perry was also seen in September as the most likable candidate and the one with the best economic policies, but Cain has now stolen Perry's thunder on both of those measures.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International on Oct. 14-16, with 1,007 adults, including 416 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus five percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Polls
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Joe

    I think one of the reasons Cain is doing well now is that he, like President Obama, is trying to put forward some new and fresh ideas to ongoing problems. Most of the GOP establishment wants to ignore problems like health care, immigration, taxes/the deficit. But President Obama in his first term and even Cain during the ongoing dialogue with this fellow GOP candidates has said that maybe there are solutions to some of these issues and they may not be the same old tired positions that are based in partisan rhetoric. I give President Obama a lot of credit for at least being willing to try new things ... and, I think, some folks are giving Cain a fresh look because he is also willing to take risks.

    October 18, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  2. Joe Shmoe

    I think it has more to do with the Cain News Network proclaiming him a "frontrunner". This Federal Reserve insider and TARP supporter has no real support on the ground. Plus, his 999 plan would increase taxes for most Americans, and add a new revenue stream for the govt. What happens when he falls like Perry?

    Vote Ron Paul if you want a true consistent conservative.

    October 18, 2011 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  3. RW

    Mr Cain is the real deal. He came from dirt-poor and worked his tail off to achieve success. He's got my vote.

    October 18, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  4. Vigla

    Likeable or not, Cain will notbe the nominee. It will be Romney and he will lose, just like Ann Coulter said...

    October 18, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  5. annie s

    Republicans are the strangest people. They root for a guy whose tax plan will not only put undue burden on the poor, it will probably destroy small businesses, as well as large corporations like the auto industry – a business needs demand for its products, demand that will clearly go down as the high sales taxes will stop people from buying.

    October 18, 2011 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  6. Randy Bonn

    Sometimes a business needs to go through a re-org, get back to its core business. Vote Ron Paul, the only candidate who believes in the "core" business of government.

    October 18, 2011 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  7. todd purnick

    I just gave Obama some money!

    October 18, 2011 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  8. ED FL

    The GOP is using Cain as a rebute to Obama.He will say things the white boys won't and get away with soon as he is no help to degrade Obama the GOP will dump him like a hot potato.Politics has no moratlity or loyalty and the GOP leads in hate mongering at any cost. You Mr cain are just another tool for the GOP.

    October 18, 2011 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  9. Anthony

    The secret is very simple. The GOP voters are telling Romney. Go away. We don't want you. We don't care if you are the best debater, or you are the most electable. We will go down the list if we have to. So what if the 9-9-9 plan creates a new national sale tax, or the poor will now be required to pay taxes. If we have to, we will even go for a black candidate who insulted his own race, calling them brainwashed. Seriously, we mean it.

    October 18, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  10. JOSH1985

    The reason Cain is surging is because the MSM got on the knees for him for a couple weeks coupled with him SELLING a false message to an ignorant media fed population. Cain is just like Obama selling a lemon used car to an ignorant older person.

    October 18, 2011 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  11. billy

    The 9-9-9 plan results in tax breaks for the millionaires, double taxes for poor and elderly and 18% sales tax in total for all.

    It's a disaster that won't work (like mot overly simple solutions to complex problems).

    October 18, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  12. durundal

    Why is it that when even the finance, tax and economics experts are reporting that the 9 9 9 plan is garbage at best, and a lead weight for the poor at worst, that stupid lower to mid class people continue to egg it on. Is it really that much of a lemming-fest?

    October 18, 2011 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  13. Scott S.

    Government isn't a business. Why don't people understand that? A CEO of a major company has no experience in running a country. None. NOBODY DOES! The government is a government. It has to be run like a government. It's not Godfather's Pizza, nor is it an investment bank. It's a government.

    October 18, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  14. zb

    The secret to his rise: ignorance and stupidity of the Republican/Tparty, however, the fact is Cain is no worse then the rest of their candidates when it comes to how bad they all are.

    October 18, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    The Republican Party has convinced their demographic that increased profits is equivalent to a strong economy. They seem to be attracted to the candidate who can promise the most profits, which I find absolutely ridiculous. How can they favor increasing the financial well being of those who are already financially well off, instead of favoring a candidate who advocates defending the financial well being of those who would vote for them?

    When are they going to wake up to the reality that facts show that greater corporate profits has nothing to do with a strong economy? Most corporations have recorded record profits, record cash on hand, and record salaries since the global financial crisis hit in 2008. Meanwhile, the economy was slowly recovering but seems to have floundered throughtout most of the year, but Republican voters still buy into the idea that increased profits for the 1% is somehow benefical to them.

    Romney and Cain are percieved to bring that message to the table more so than the other candidates. I think they are idiots. (Can you figure which "they" I am referring to? I guarantee you that your answer will be correct.)

    October 18, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  16. a in austin

    Another bought and paid for by the koch brothers person (won't even call him a politician). They sure want the epa dismantled so they can continue to pollute both the water and the air at our expense.

    October 18, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  17. Carol

    "In this article, "You failed to say the "Unfair billionaires, Koch Bro,s are also ,In Charge of this Lunatic! They now are known as the Kochaine Brothers! Cain is a puppet of these two conspirators! He has no possiblity of coming near the White House! LOL??? Also note, "Cantor is the most Spineless,Immoral,evil,Paid Off, guttless member of Congress in American History! Oh, I forgot the most important thing, "UnAmerican" Go away Kantor!!! 2012 will be your exit!

    October 18, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |