The newest poll of Republicans and independents who lean to the GOP side of the fence shows that businessman Herman Cain continues to control the top spot, but it also uncovers trends that the party should be watching as the process of attrition begins to impact the field of candidates.
The WND/Wenzel Poll by Wenzel Strategies was conducted by telephone Oct. 22-25 and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.
The survey indicates Cain is favored to be the party’s presidential candidate by 27.1 percent, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is second at 17.9 percent. Third is Texas Congressman Ron Paul with 11.8 percent.
But actually in second place is the undecided column, comprising more than one in five of the respondents, meaning there could be significant changes in the field before the 2012 nominee is chosen.
Cain leads but is slowly coming back to the field after a meteoric rise following a straw poll victory inFlorida,” said Fritz Wenzel, of Wenzel Strategies, in his analysis of the GOP side of the campaign.
“Cain is now in a position familiar to other candidates, including Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who saw a spike in support but who were unable to sustain that support. Cain has just recently come under close scrutiny and has made some public misstatements and mistakes. Meanwhile, both Romney and Paul, both experienced presidential candidates, have maintained solid bases of support,” he said.
Wenzel said that two of three Republican voters say they are satisfied with the field, while some 30 percent are dissatisfied. A total of 44 percent said they would like to see a new candidate enter the competition, reflecting a continued uncertainty.
“What is going on here is that the two now well-known camps inside the Republican Party are slightly shifting away from the Romney camp and toward the Anybody-But-Romney camp. The problem for every other candidate right now is that they are sharing the anti-Romney support, and it appears they will continue to do so until the actual voting begins and their money runs out,” Wenzel said.
“This is going to be a real battle of attrition, as Romney will try to lock up the nomination while there are still many opponents in the race. If he is unable to do so, his campaign will begin losing air like a leaky bicycle tire. Eventually he will go flat, and someone else will win the race,” Wenzel said.