A lot of Republicans don’t know who Herman Cain is yet, but those who do really like what they see. With former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee opting out of the 2012 presidential race, a path opened for some less-known contenders, including Cain and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, according to a new Gallup Poll
Gallup created a metric it calls “positive intensity” that measures a potential candidate’s favorability rating among those who recognize his or her name.
|Herman Cain's positive intensity ranks higher than any other candidate. (Getty Images Photo)
Although Cain rated just a 29 percent name recognition among Republicans, which is pretty low on the scale, his positive intensity score was 24 — higher than any other candidate in the poll.
The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza performed well in the first primary debate in South Carolina. That forum did not include all of the potential candidates.
Bachmann, of Minnesota, had the second-highest score at 21, and 58 percent of GOP voters know who she is.
Cain’s favorability factor is particularly impressive when compared with those of much bigger names. For instance, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has 83 percent name recognition among Republicans, but his positive intensity score was just 14.
The poll found that, overall, Romney, 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich would be Republicans’ top choice for the 2012 nominee. Romney and Palin are essentially tied, with Gingrich doing less well.
“None of these three, however, comes close to generating the positive intensity of Huckabee,” Gallup’s Frank Newport wrote.
“There is no clear front-runner in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination,” he said.
Palin had the highest name recognition, at 96 percent, but the former Alaska governor is a divisive figure. Her positive intensity rating was just 16.
And Gingrich might be in for a truly tough battle. The poll found that 84 percent of Republicans know the former House speaker, but he got only a 13 on the positive intensity score.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty had 48 percent name recognition, compared with Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ 35 percent. Both men scored the same on the positive intensity scale: 13.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul had 76 percent name recognition and a positive intensity score of 11. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum was familiar to 47 percent of Republicans and scored a 12 on the positive intensity scale.
Former Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman had 25 percent name recognition and a positive intensity score of just 9. And 21 percent recognized former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson’s name, but he rated a mere 1 on the positive intensity scale.
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