Since the days before he officially entered the 2012 Republican presidential nominating race last weekend, Herman Cain has been making stops in all the right conservative places, sharing his views about the current administrations and how he’d do things differently. It may be working. A Gallup poll released on Thursday showed that despite his low name recognition, the former Godfather Pizza CEO has more support among Republican voters than Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann and John Huntsman. Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Ron Paul led the poll, but Cain followed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich by just one point.
That’s great news for the Cain campaign, but how likely is it that he could actually win the GOP nomination? Politico posed that very question to a number of politicians, pundits and analysts and pundits. Here’s what two of them had to say.
“Cain argues that he is unlike the others and not a career politician. In a time when voters are strongly dissatisfied with most politicians, if Cain can get his name out there, he may become a viable candidate. But he has his work cut out for him. It will be interesting to see if his candidacy can catch fire or will flame out,” said Dewey Clayton, a political scientist at the University of Louisville.
“His challenges, like most others, are gaining name recognition, raising the money and especially in his case, demonstrating an ability to understand and have “a plan” on foreign affairs and national defense,” said Fran Wendelboe, a former member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, who believes no Republican has a lock yet. “Yes, he is being underestimated, can he win the nomination? Hmm, weren’t we asking ‘Barack who?’ four years ago? And how many pundits thought he didn’t have a chance against the Clinton machine? Stranger things have happened.”
The bulk of Cain’s support comes from the grassroots, a base that has helped propel former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to political and economic heights that surely she never imagined four years ago. But Cain has two serious strikes against him. First, there’s his race. Is America ready to elect two African-Americans in a row? Also, as he proudly claims, he’s a political outsider. With the country facing so many challenges, voters won’t be inclined to choose a candidate who’s never held any political office. That won’t stop Cain from trying, though, and one thing is certain: during the next several months he’ll keep us both entertained and intrigued.
(Photo:AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)