Whether Herman Cain’s surge in the polls is temporary or has staying power, he’s enjoying a big enough bounce to take a very slight lead over President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 matchup. At the moment, the Georgia businessman is the only Republican with a lead of any kind over Obama, although former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has held a similar advantage several times and is currently trailing the president by just two points.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters shows Cain attracting 43% support, while Obama earns 41%. Given such a matchup, eight percent (8%) prefer some other candidate, and another eight percent (8%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Cain is tied with Romney for the lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. Nobody else is even close at the moment.
Last week, Cain trailed Obama by three. The week before, he was behind by five. “Cain now has the chance to make the case for why he should be the challenger to Mitt Romney,” says Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports. “Many others have auditioned for the role and fallen flat, and it remains to be seen whether Cain’s fate will be similar.” Rasmussen interviewed Cain for the Rasmussen Report on radio show.
Rick Perry is the only other GOP candidate to have ever held a lead against the president in this cycle. That came just as the Texas governor entered the race when he was widely perceived as the front-runner. Perry now trails Obama by double digits.
A generic Republican candidate has consistently held a modest advantage over the president. But named Republican candidates tend to perform a bit weaker against Obama.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the only other candidate aside from Romney and Cain who earns double-digit support among likely Republican primary voters. He gets 10% backing, well behind Romney and Cain who each pick up 29% of the vote.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on October 14-15, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.
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