How fast Herman Cain collapses or implodes really depends on the polling numbers throughout the week. The polling numbers at the end of the week will probably be quite telling, as it will be a measure of how the sexual harassment scandal has impacted voter attitudes. Keep in mind: this is a Republican primary electorate. It’s dominated primarily by White males and seniors, many with rather old school attitudes concerning the treatment of women in these sorts of situations.
Check out the reliably Republican Rasmussen Survey taken a couple of days after the scandal came out:
The first Rasmussen Reports poll of South Carolina’s Likely Republican Primary Voters shows Cain with 33% support, Romney at 23% and Gingrich at 15%. Texas Governor Rick Perry earns nine percent (9%) of the likely primary vote, Texas Congressman Ron Paul five percent (5%) and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann two percent (2%). Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman each pick up one percent (1%), as does “some other candidate.” Ten percent (10%) remain undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Of those who are currently certain of their vote, Cain leads Romney by 12.
It’s important to note, however, that just 28% of South Carolina’s Likely Primary Voters are firmly committed to their current candidate. That leaves 72% who could still change their mind or have no preference at this time. South Carolina’s primary will be held 10 days after the New Hampshire Primary, and the results from both Iowa and New Hampshire could alter the course of the campaign before South Carolina votes.
Just nine percent (9%) think it’s Very Likely that the charges against Cain are serious and true. Another 19% think it’s Somewhat Likely. Fifty-eight percent (58%) consider it unlikely, but that includes only 19% who say that it is Not at All Likely. This suggests that Republican voters are generally willing to give the candidate the benefit of the doubt while recognizing that more information might change their perception.
Cain had a better chance earlier in the week than he has right now towards the end of the week. More accusations are dropping and it’s looking as if this thing has legs beyond just this week. It will be interesting to see how he handles it.
Stephen Olemacher in the Associated Press reports:
A third woman considered filing a workplace complaint against Herman Cain over what she deemed aggressive and unwanted behavior when she and Cain, now a Republican presidential candidate, worked together during the late 1990s, the woman told The Associated Press on Wednesday. She said the behavior included a private invitation to his corporate apartment.
The woman said he made sexually suggestive remarks or gestures about the same time that two co-workers had settled separate harassment complaints against Cain, who was then the head of the National Restaurant Association.
The woman was located and approached by the AP as part of its investigation into harassment complaints against Cain that were disclosed in recent days and have thrown his presidential campaign into turmoil. She spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying she feared losing her current job and the possibility of damage to her reputation.
Cain’s campaign denied anew that he’d done anything wrong, decried a “smear campaign” as he is riding high in opinion polls and accused rival Rick Perry’s operation of being behind the original stories.
Perry told the conservative RedState blog late Wednesday that his campaign “had absolutely nothing to do with it.”
Jonathan Martin in POLITICO reports:
In a cryptic comment made at National Journal’s Election 2012 Preview event Tuesday, Mark Block, Herman Cain’s campaign manager, made reference to an incident involving Cain and a receptionist for a radio talk show host.
Asked by panel moderator Beth Reinhard whether he could guarantee that there’s not more information forthcoming about his past, Block began his answer with a blanket denial, followed by what seemed to be a description of an unreported recent incident involving Cain.
“Mr. Cain has never sexually harassed anybody. Period. End of story,” he said. “As the hours go by, it’s interesting that we even hear from a radio talk show host of Iowa that a receptionist thought that Mr. Cain’s comments were inappropriate.”
POLITICO has learned that the incident involved a staffer for Steve Deace, an influential conservative talk radio host who hosts a nationally syndicated show in Des Moines. And Deace says he did take offense.
Deace, who penned an opinion piece critical of Cain earlier this month, told POLITICO in an email that Cain said “awkward” and “inappropriate” things to the staff at his station.
“Like awkward/inappropriate things he’s said to two females on my staff, that the fact the guy’s wife is never around…that’s almost always a warning flag to me,” Deace wrote. “But I chose to leave that stuff out [of the opinion piece] and make it about his record and not the personal stuff.”
Jerry Bohnen of KTOK News Radio shows how everybody, even campaign consultants, wants to jump in now:
Oklahoma political consultant Chris Wilson says if the woman behind the reported sexual harassment complaint against GOP Presidential hopeful Herman Cain is allowed to speak publicly, it’ll be the end of Cain’s run for the White House.
Interviewed today on KTOK’s Mullins in the Morning, Wilson, of Wilson-Perkins-Allen Opinion Research headquartered in Washington, D.C. explained he was a witness to the incident. “I was the pollster at the National Restaurant Association when Herman Cain was head of it and I was around a couple of times when this happened and anyone who was involved with the NRA at the time, knew that this was gonna come up.”
Wilson described the woman as a low level staffer who was maybe two years out of college. “This occurred at a restaurant in Crystal City (Virginia) and everybody was aware of it,” he continued. “It was only a matter of time because so many people were aware of what took place, so many people were aware of her situation, the fact she left—everybody knew with the campaign that this would eventually come up.”