Republican women are starting to turn away from scandal-plagued presidential candidate Herman Cain, an exclusive Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage poll shows.
The pizza mogul is still ahead in the crucial state of Iowa, but his lead over one-time front-runner Mitt Romney is dwindling, the survey shows.
But while 31 percent of Iowan men say they would still vote for Cain, only 16 percent of women say the same.
“Herman Cain is holding on in Iowa, but barely,” said InsiderAdvantage head Matt Towery. “He is still in the thick of it, but he is not doing well with the female vote.”
|Sharon Bialek is one of Cain's accusers. (AP)
The new poll was taken on Thursday night, the day after the main GOP candidates debated in Auburn Hills, Mich. and 11 days after allegations surfaced that Cain has a history of sexually harassing women.
Cain has consistently said those charges are false.
It showed Cain now attracts 23 percent of voters who plan to take part in the Jan. 3 GOP caucus in the state. That is down from 30 percent he received in a similar poll eight days earlier.
The voters who deserted Cain were evenly spread among the other candidates. Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney was up from 15 percent to 19 and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich rose from 12 percent to 15.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul went from 9 percent to 12 while Texas Gov. Rick Perry went from 6 percent to 9.
However Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann slipped, going down from 8 percent to 5 in the state in which she has been pinning her entire campaign.
But among women, Cain’s share of the vote had nearly halved in those eight days, going down from 29 percent to 16, Towery said.
A separate poll that InsiderAdvantage carried out in South Carolina for the Augusta Chronicle showed that Gingrich had overtaken Romney there for second spot. It showed Cain with 26 percent, Gingrich with 19; Romney at 16; Perry at 6; Bachmann at 5; Paul on 3 and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum on 2.
But the race in South Carolina – where a debate is due to be held on Saturday evening – is still wide open as 20 percent said they had no opinion or had not made up their mind who they will vote for.
“Romney is certainly stronger than he was four years ago and he is showing that he has the ability to connect in states where he had some difficulty then, but Gingrich is now nipping at his heels and he is certainly the one to watch,” said Towery.
The pollster said that Cain has so far weathered the storm of the harassment charges and if no other women come forward, he could survive. “The question now is can Gingrich find a way to take down Cain in Iowa.”
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