Herman Cain’s “Cain Train” is showing signs of gaining momentum in the race for the Republican nomination for the White House. A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows that the former pizza magnate would run President Barack Obama close in a head-to-head match-up.
After trailing other Republican hopefuls for months, Cain’s campaign suddenly has caught fire, with pundits crediting his catchy 9-9-9 plan, which would cut corporate and income taxes to 9 percent while instituting a similar rate for a new national sales tax.
Rasmussen’s poll of likely voters suggests that he trails Obama by just five percentage points, with 39 percent saying they would vote to re-elect the president and 34 percent saying they would go for the only leading contender who has never held elective office.
Last month, Cain trailed Obama by 7 percentage points, and in March, he was behind by 18 points.
Cain shot to national prominence in the early 1990s when, as chairman of the National Restaurant Association, he was instrumental in defeating Bill and Hillary Clinton’s healthcare plan. At the time, he was on the board of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank and he later went on to become chairman, the only public office he has held.
He has gained attention in recent days, putting in a strong performance at the Sept. 22 GOP debate in Orlando, which propelled him to victory in the Florida Straw Poll during the weekend.
He then gained the endorsement of conservative comedian Dennis Miller, who suggested a slogan for the businessman’s campaign against Obama: “Cain versus Not Able.”
“Can I tell you how jazzed I am about this cat? How proud I am of him hanging in there?” Miller said on his radio show. “This guy’s the one who makes sense to me. He’s a sweet man. He’s not self-aggrandizing.”
Cain did especially well among independents in the Rasmussen poll, with 33 percent saying they would vote for him against only 31 percent who would go for Obama.
However, the bad news for him came when voters were asked whether he is qualified to be president, with 33 percent saying no, as opposed to 30 percent who said yes.
Rasmussen polled voters on nine Republicans in head-to-head battles against Obama who won them all. The closest margin was two points between the president and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Cain’s five-point gap was second, followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry with a six-point margin. The widest disparity was 18 points by which Obama would beat former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
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