Following a solid performance in last Thursday’s nationally-televised Republican presidential primary debate sponsored by FOX News, radio talk show host and self-described “political outsider” Herman Cain suddenly finds himself among the top choices to head his party’s ticket in the 2012 presidential election.
In an on online survey conducted by IBOPE Zogby, the previously little-known Cain is the first choice of 14% of likely Republican primary voters. The ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza trails only New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in a match-up of thirteen possible candidates for the Republican presidential nomination. Christie, who continues to insist that he won’t be a candidate, received 17 percent in the interactive poll, which was conducted May 6-9, only a few days after last week’s South Carolina Republican presidential debate.
Mitt Romney, who didn’t participate in last week’s debate, polled 9 percent in the poll while former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, whose debate performance failed to excite the party‘s conservative base, garnered only four percent of those surveyed.
A Romney spokesman downplayed the results, saying that it was too early to gauge support in the race, especially since several potential candidates, including the former Massachusetts governor, haven’t declared their intentions yet.
In the meantime, the 65-year-old Cain — a favorite of the Tea Party crowd — said that he plans to hold a rally on May 21 to announce his decision on running for president.
The IBOPE Zogby Poll of 1,377 likely Republican primary voters also found that half of those surveyed indicated that they could never support Donald Trump as the party’s nominee while 36 percent said that they couldn’t vote for former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who plans to make his candidacy official later today.
Nearly a third of those polled said that they couldn’t possibly vote for Ron Paul, the cranky Texas congressman and outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve who’s mounting a third long-shot quest for the presidency. Paul’s candidacy was favored by ten percent of those surveyed.
The poll, released yesterday, had a margin of error of 2.7 percent.