A new slate of national and state presidential polls offer bad news for would-be GOP nominee Rick Perry, who has quickly dropped from first place to third, or worse. The twist: It seems Perry's voters have almost all flocked to Herman Cain instead of Mitt Romney. Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza mogul, takes first place in Public Policy Polling (PPP) in North Carolina, Nebraska, and among West Virginia Republicans, and ties Romney in a new CBS national poll. Cain insists his surge to the top of the GOP field will last, because "black walnut isn't a flavor of the week." Implausibly, "is the new Republican frontrunner Herman Cain?" asks PPP's Tom Jensen.
Cain is a real contender: The "Hermanator" has clearly "vaulted into the ranks of the frontrunners," and it's easy to see why, says the Canton, Ga., Cherokee Tribune in an editorial. As all rivals but Romney implode one by one, Cain has won over Republicans with his "steady, unflappable presence" at the debates. And while he and Romney both have strong business backgrounds — a crucial selling point in this economy — Cain is also a true conservative.
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It's still a Romney-Perry race: "You can safely ignore the polling that shows Herman Cain surging," says Jonathan Bernstein in The Washington Post. The "Godfather guy" may be this week's winner of the "GOP Nomination Reality TV Show," but that's only the public face of the GOP race. In the real-world track, all but the two "serious candidates," Romney and Perry, have been dispatched with "almost ruthless efficiency" by Republican power brokers.
Cain is the frontrunner, but for how long? "Unlike Perry, Cain seems to be getting better as a candidate," says Allahpundit in Hot Air, and it will be hard for Team Perry to win back the conservatives who've ditched him for the new GOP frontrunner. But Cain's "amazing" rise in the polls won't last if he can't convince Republicans that he's at least as electable as Romney. And unlike Perry, Cain may not be able to raise the cash to "compete with Romney over the long haul."
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