Raising Cain

The winner of the Republican straw poll in Florida was not Perry and not Romney, but Herman Cain.  The African-American businessman took 37% of the vote, better than the two ostensible front-runners combined.

One could say that the vote is meaningless.  It is cast by Republican activists, not the general public, who have to pay for the privilege.  And yet the Florida straw poll, which has consistently forecast the eventual Republican nominee, does tell us this:  Republican activists do not think much of any of the “leading” candidates.

Virtually everyone likes Cain, but assumes that it would be impossible for the former Baptist minister and Godfather Pizza CEO could win the election.  After all, he has never held elective office before.

But now a public opinion poll, taken before the straw vote, has him ahead of the pack:

A new Zogby poll puts Herman Cain​ at the top of the Republican field, as the top choice of 28% of poll respondents. (IBOPE Zogby International says the polling sample consists of “all likely voters and of likely Republican primary voters.”)

Rounding out the top three are Rick Perry at 18%, and Mitt Romney at 17%. Fourth place goes to Ron Paul at 11%. Paul’s the most solid performer in Zogby’s polling history for the 2012 GOP race – his 11% might as well be chiseled in stone.

Interestingly, this poll was conducted after the Orlando GOP debate, but before Cain won the Florida straw poll. It’s a huge surge for Cain, who was polling at 12% just two weeks previously, and was floating at a campaign low of 8% two weeks before that. Aside from that bitter 8% number, Cain has generally done quite well in the Zogby poll, usually good enough for second or third place.

On the other hand, Rick Perry’s numbers in the Zogby poll have cratered, falling 19% in just two weeks. His debut last month was also his high-water mark thus far, when Zogby had him at 41%.

Michelle Bachmann has also been slipping steadily, chugging in at 4%. That puts her just below Jon Huntsman, which is the same way she finished the Florida straw poll. Bachmann was actually the leading candidate in Zogby’s polling from June 21 through July 25… then she plunged to 9% in the next poll and continued sliding down from there.

Romney’s been holding fairly steady in the Zogby poll. He bounces a few points up and down, but seems to hover in the 15-17% range.

Zogby’s also got President Obama’s approval rating at 42%, with 57% disapproval. That’s actually a bit better than his September 5 low of 39-61. His poor approval numbers seem to hold fairly steady, while his disapproval bounces around.

via Herman Cain Leads Republican Field In Zogby Poll – HUMAN EVENTS.

Could Herman Cain, the African-American businessman, become the Republican presidential nominee?  And the next President?

 

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • WebMonk

    What little I know of Cain is generally favorable as far as his economic and socio-political stances go. However, I don’t think he would make a very good president – experience and competence in management in the private sector does not translate to the public sector.

    Especially not at the level of President.

    It’s conceivable that he does have the talent to be an excellent President, but I would need to see some EXTREMELY good evidence of that before I would vote for him.

  • WebMonk

    What little I know of Cain is generally favorable as far as his economic and socio-political stances go. However, I don’t think he would make a very good president – experience and competence in management in the private sector does not translate to the public sector.

    Especially not at the level of President.

    It’s conceivable that he does have the talent to be an excellent President, but I would need to see some EXTREMELY good evidence of that before I would vote for him.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I like him. We can’t do any worse than we have now, all things considered.

  • http://enterthevein.wordpress.com J. Dean

    I like him. We can’t do any worse than we have now, all things considered.

  • LAJ

    He has more leadership experience than Obama did. He seems like he is in the race for his country. Romney and Perry seem like career politicians who will do or say just about anything to get elected or ahead in the polls.

  • LAJ

    He has more leadership experience than Obama did. He seems like he is in the race for his country. Romney and Perry seem like career politicians who will do or say just about anything to get elected or ahead in the polls.

  • http://brbible.org Rich Shipe

    I think I like him best of the current choices. I agree with WebMonk about business experience being over-rated. But I think that Cain has what matters most which is good principles plus good communication skills. The reality of DC today is that no one can really manage it. The idea of someone having some kind of particular management skills is an impossible thing because it is beyond management.

    It bothers me though that Cain lost a Senate race in 2004 in Georgia. Why was that? If he can’t win in Georgia can he win elsewhere?

  • http://brbible.org Rich Shipe

    I think I like him best of the current choices. I agree with WebMonk about business experience being over-rated. But I think that Cain has what matters most which is good principles plus good communication skills. The reality of DC today is that no one can really manage it. The idea of someone having some kind of particular management skills is an impossible thing because it is beyond management.

    It bothers me though that Cain lost a Senate race in 2004 in Georgia. Why was that? If he can’t win in Georgia can he win elsewhere?

  • WebMonk

    Rich – I agree that no one can truly manage DC politics, at least at the moment. However, as I think we’ve seen with President Obama, a lack of strong executive skills can certainly let the office of the President flounder, which can certainly add to the general chaos.

    Legislative posts are not particularly “executive” by nature, though they do require some executive skills to carry out well. President Obama had some brief legislative experience before becoming President, but I think he had a lack of just about ANY executive experience and has not shown any particular aptitude in that area during his presidency.

    Cain seems to have some good executive skills honed in the private sector, and probably has some good raw talent in executive matters as well. However, private sector skills are not equivalent to public sector skills, and while he would move along the Presidential training curve much faster/better than President Obama has, that’s not saying much.

    I think Cain would have a much better starting set of skills and talents than President Obama had/has, but that’s an exceptionally low bar to hurdle and does not qualify someone to hold the post of President.

    If it came down to Cain vs Obama, I would certainly vote for Cain for I think he would be a much better President than Obama on many levels, but again, that’s not a hard thing.

  • WebMonk

    Rich – I agree that no one can truly manage DC politics, at least at the moment. However, as I think we’ve seen with President Obama, a lack of strong executive skills can certainly let the office of the President flounder, which can certainly add to the general chaos.

    Legislative posts are not particularly “executive” by nature, though they do require some executive skills to carry out well. President Obama had some brief legislative experience before becoming President, but I think he had a lack of just about ANY executive experience and has not shown any particular aptitude in that area during his presidency.

    Cain seems to have some good executive skills honed in the private sector, and probably has some good raw talent in executive matters as well. However, private sector skills are not equivalent to public sector skills, and while he would move along the Presidential training curve much faster/better than President Obama has, that’s not saying much.

    I think Cain would have a much better starting set of skills and talents than President Obama had/has, but that’s an exceptionally low bar to hurdle and does not qualify someone to hold the post of President.

    If it came down to Cain vs Obama, I would certainly vote for Cain for I think he would be a much better President than Obama on many levels, but again, that’s not a hard thing.

  • Cincinnatus

    No and no.

  • Cincinnatus

    No and no.

  • Kirk

    Cain is a likable guy with conservative principles, but, frankly, I know plenty of likable conservatives that shouldn’t run for president. I don’t see why anyone would vote for a person lacking legal, legislative, public service, foreign policy and security experience. I mean, seriously? What lends Herman Cain to the office?

    And, this might be a silly question, but isn’t anyone concerned by his prejudice against Muslim Americans? The policy implications of these views (which he personally has enumerated) are downright unconstitutional.

  • Kirk

    Cain is a likable guy with conservative principles, but, frankly, I know plenty of likable conservatives that shouldn’t run for president. I don’t see why anyone would vote for a person lacking legal, legislative, public service, foreign policy and security experience. I mean, seriously? What lends Herman Cain to the office?

    And, this might be a silly question, but isn’t anyone concerned by his prejudice against Muslim Americans? The policy implications of these views (which he personally has enumerated) are downright unconstitutional.

  • Tom Hering

    A 9% national sales tax is just what I, on a low fixed income, need at this point. Thanks Herman. Of course it won’t affect him as much as me, as the rich spend a lower percent of their money actually buying things. (I spend 100%.)

  • Tom Hering

    A 9% national sales tax is just what I, on a low fixed income, need at this point. Thanks Herman. Of course it won’t affect him as much as me, as the rich spend a lower percent of their money actually buying things. (I spend 100%.)

  • SKPeterson

    It’s a straw poll. Ron Paul won a straw poll in Iowa or New Hampshire and all I heard was “It’s just a straw poll – it doesn’t mean anything.” But, now it’s Herman Cain. So, off we go to the dog-and-pony show.

  • SKPeterson

    It’s a straw poll. Ron Paul won a straw poll in Iowa or New Hampshire and all I heard was “It’s just a straw poll – it doesn’t mean anything.” But, now it’s Herman Cain. So, off we go to the dog-and-pony show.

  • Bob

    ‘become the Republican presidential nominee? And the next President?’

    Sure. You betcha.

    At the same time monkeys fly out my butt.

  • Bob

    ‘become the Republican presidential nominee? And the next President?’

    Sure. You betcha.

    At the same time monkeys fly out my butt.

  • DonS

    Webmonk and Rich make excellent points. Normally, I would dismiss Cain’s chances of winning the nomination, but these are desperate times. Who would have thought that a man as unqualified as Obama would have won the Democratic nomination over the assumed nominee, Hilary Clinton, in 2008, and then beaten a moderate national hero handily in the general election? After that election, I don’t think you can ever dismiss someone out of hand. People are desperate for a good communicator who gets their concerns. Cain fits that bill.

    The Republican leadership is doing everything possible to find another viable candidate, prevailing upon Chris Christie (that won’t happen) and others to reconsider their decisions not to run. Barring a new credible candidate (and I don’t mean Palin), the choice is to rehabilitate one of the existing candidates, probably Perry or Romney, or to go with someone out of the box, like Cain. I think Perry’s ship wrecked in Florida, and there are a good number of people who will never be excited about Romney, or even vote for him, because of either his Mormonism or Romneycare. So, ……

    Between Cain and Obama, the choice is very clear.

  • DonS

    Webmonk and Rich make excellent points. Normally, I would dismiss Cain’s chances of winning the nomination, but these are desperate times. Who would have thought that a man as unqualified as Obama would have won the Democratic nomination over the assumed nominee, Hilary Clinton, in 2008, and then beaten a moderate national hero handily in the general election? After that election, I don’t think you can ever dismiss someone out of hand. People are desperate for a good communicator who gets their concerns. Cain fits that bill.

    The Republican leadership is doing everything possible to find another viable candidate, prevailing upon Chris Christie (that won’t happen) and others to reconsider their decisions not to run. Barring a new credible candidate (and I don’t mean Palin), the choice is to rehabilitate one of the existing candidates, probably Perry or Romney, or to go with someone out of the box, like Cain. I think Perry’s ship wrecked in Florida, and there are a good number of people who will never be excited about Romney, or even vote for him, because of either his Mormonism or Romneycare. So, ……

    Between Cain and Obama, the choice is very clear.

  • –helen

    McCain was a hero…. fifty years ago…. and Palin is a joke.
    How did the Republicans ever fall for that?

    What are they going to fall for this time!?

  • –helen

    McCain was a hero…. fifty years ago…. and Palin is a joke.
    How did the Republicans ever fall for that?

    What are they going to fall for this time!?

  • DonS

    One more point to make on this issue is that a lot of the reasons the Republican front-runners are perceived poorly is because they are spending most of their campaigns attacking one another, rather than the current presidency and state of affairs. Republicans trying to make a decision about their next candidate do not want to hear why Rick Perry or Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann are unfit to be president. They want to hear a stirring message from the candidate about what he or she is going to do in office to change things, and make things better than they are currently. Promote a vision for what can happen, instead of gratuitously tearing fellow Republicans down. Reagan did this — both in 1976 and in 1980. Bush did this, as well, in 2000. Clinton in 1992 and Obama in 2008 also were able to inspire people to support their primary candidacy, by providing a vision of what they saw as their goals for the presidency.

    Cain seems to be the only one in the current Republican field who gets this.

  • DonS

    One more point to make on this issue is that a lot of the reasons the Republican front-runners are perceived poorly is because they are spending most of their campaigns attacking one another, rather than the current presidency and state of affairs. Republicans trying to make a decision about their next candidate do not want to hear why Rick Perry or Mitt Romney or Michelle Bachmann are unfit to be president. They want to hear a stirring message from the candidate about what he or she is going to do in office to change things, and make things better than they are currently. Promote a vision for what can happen, instead of gratuitously tearing fellow Republicans down. Reagan did this — both in 1976 and in 1980. Bush did this, as well, in 2000. Clinton in 1992 and Obama in 2008 also were able to inspire people to support their primary candidacy, by providing a vision of what they saw as their goals for the presidency.

    Cain seems to be the only one in the current Republican field who gets this.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Time to double down on my prediction, I suppose. Cain? Not gonna happen. Perry.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Time to double down on my prediction, I suppose. Cain? Not gonna happen. Perry.

  • Jonathan

    Palin was right to call “Herb” Cain the “flavor of the month” last night. Growing interest in the candidacy of this tax raiser is only good news for Democrats. It highlights the weaknesses of Perry and Romney and the Republicans’ ongoing disgust with their questionable choices. Palin needs to step in and take over.

  • Jonathan

    Palin was right to call “Herb” Cain the “flavor of the month” last night. Growing interest in the candidacy of this tax raiser is only good news for Democrats. It highlights the weaknesses of Perry and Romney and the Republicans’ ongoing disgust with their questionable choices. Palin needs to step in and take over.

  • Lou

    Why won’t Jeb Bush consider running in 2012? Too close to Jr.? I think he’d be perfect… (especially now that the media and the public are bored with the circus…)

  • Lou

    Why won’t Jeb Bush consider running in 2012? Too close to Jr.? I think he’d be perfect… (especially now that the media and the public are bored with the circus…)

  • Bob

    Right or wrong, I think any candidate with the Bush name is 2012 is, well, doomed with the American voters.

  • Bob

    Right or wrong, I think any candidate with the Bush name is 2012 is, well, doomed with the American voters.

  • Martin J.

    Lou, word on the street has it the Jeb is holding out for 2016.

    Personally, I think 2016 has the potential to be a landmark election:
    Just think, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio vs. Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo — just one possible combination. The future match-ups are almost unlimited.
    But nobody wants to run against the incumbant this year, is what I’ve heard.

    As far as Cain goes, I’m not sure he’s got the creds or the name recognition, but if we don’t have anyone else steppin’ up, who knows? It sure would confuse the heck out of Obama’s black caucus voters :)

  • Martin J.

    Lou, word on the street has it the Jeb is holding out for 2016.

    Personally, I think 2016 has the potential to be a landmark election:
    Just think, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio vs. Hillary Clinton and Andrew Cuomo — just one possible combination. The future match-ups are almost unlimited.
    But nobody wants to run against the incumbant this year, is what I’ve heard.

    As far as Cain goes, I’m not sure he’s got the creds or the name recognition, but if we don’t have anyone else steppin’ up, who knows? It sure would confuse the heck out of Obama’s black caucus voters :)

  • Kirk

    @15 But if she ran for the title of President, how could she keep going rogue and being all mavericky? It’d just be too shackling, you know? Besides, she’d just quit half way through her term, anyways.

    reference at 9:31 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcDJ40VnT5o&feature=player_embedded#!

  • Kirk

    @15 But if she ran for the title of President, how could she keep going rogue and being all mavericky? It’d just be too shackling, you know? Besides, she’d just quit half way through her term, anyways.

    reference at 9:31 : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcDJ40VnT5o&feature=player_embedded#!

  • Jonathan

    @19, As the nominee, she could be as rouguish and mavericky as she wants, no? The 2012 GOP demands as much.

  • Jonathan

    @19, As the nominee, she could be as rouguish and mavericky as she wants, no? The 2012 GOP demands as much.

  • Kirk

    @20 Well, those are her words, not mine. And I’m certainly not one to question Gov. Palin. If I did, I’d be a woman hating socialist.

  • Kirk

    @20 Well, those are her words, not mine. And I’m certainly not one to question Gov. Palin. If I did, I’d be a woman hating socialist.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As far as Cain goes, I’m not sure he’s got the creds or the name recognition, but if we don’t have anyone else steppin’ up, who knows?”

    Think of the greatest presidents we ever had.

    Now think of their political experience.

    Is there really a connection? or even a weak correlation?

    It is not like Cain has never done anything. He has a long and distinguished career. Our government was specifically designed to be run by the citizens. It is our founding principle. Cain has lots of management experience. He has demonstrated his competence. Certainly an accomplished citizen like Cain is at least a fit candidate.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “As far as Cain goes, I’m not sure he’s got the creds or the name recognition, but if we don’t have anyone else steppin’ up, who knows?”

    Think of the greatest presidents we ever had.

    Now think of their political experience.

    Is there really a connection? or even a weak correlation?

    It is not like Cain has never done anything. He has a long and distinguished career. Our government was specifically designed to be run by the citizens. It is our founding principle. Cain has lots of management experience. He has demonstrated his competence. Certainly an accomplished citizen like Cain is at least a fit candidate.

  • alex, the political genius

    gee, all you haters out there, lets go look and see what the constitution says about the requirements for being president are:

    1 35 years old
    2 natural born US citizen

    i dont see harvard grad on that list, or a long list of public office positions.

    as the 12 steppers say, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

    as far as palin goes, she once again had way more brains than anyone who complains about her. she was hot, and smart, and that brings out the retards outta the wood works. and obomba had WAAAAAAAY more executive experience than her, riggggggggggght.

  • alex, the political genius

    gee, all you haters out there, lets go look and see what the constitution says about the requirements for being president are:

    1 35 years old
    2 natural born US citizen

    i dont see harvard grad on that list, or a long list of public office positions.

    as the 12 steppers say, doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

    as far as palin goes, she once again had way more brains than anyone who complains about her. she was hot, and smart, and that brings out the retards outta the wood works. and obomba had WAAAAAAAY more executive experience than her, riggggggggggght.

  • Martin J.

    SG: You are making a really good case. I think I can get behind him if he keeps rising. Thanks for drawing it out!

  • Martin J.

    SG: You are making a really good case. I think I can get behind him if he keeps rising. Thanks for drawing it out!

  • WebMonk

    sg @ 22:
    “Think of the greatest presidents we ever had. Now think of their political experience. Is there really a connection? or even a weak correlation?”

    Yes. A strong one. EVERY lauded President the US has had came into the office with very significant political experience, far more than either President Obama had or Cain has. One could potentially make a case that Washington is an exception, but that’s about it.

  • WebMonk

    sg @ 22:
    “Think of the greatest presidents we ever had. Now think of their political experience. Is there really a connection? or even a weak correlation?”

    Yes. A strong one. EVERY lauded President the US has had came into the office with very significant political experience, far more than either President Obama had or Cain has. One could potentially make a case that Washington is an exception, but that’s about it.


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