Alex Levinson - In news sure to inject shock and awe into the Republican political primary season, a Zogby poll released Thursday showed Herman Cain leading the Republican field, topping former front-runner Mitt Romney by an astonishing 20 points. Cain would also narrowly edge out Obama in a general election, the poll found, by a 46�“44 margin.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, would lose by a point to the president, 40 percent to 41 percent. Texas governor Rick Perry, who has slipped in the polls of late, would lose to the president 45 percent to 40 percent.
The poll found that 38 percent of Republican primary voters said they would vote for Cain if the primary were held today. Eighteen percent said they would throw their support to Romney, while 12 percent each said they would vote for Perry and Texas congressman Ron Paul. No other candidate attracted double-digit support.
This is the second month in a row in which Zogby has found Cain leading the pack; he has surged another 10 points ahead of his competitors since September. Romney, on the other hand, has remained in the same place, while Perry’s share of the primary vote in the Zogby poll has steadily declined since he announced his candidacy in August.
Other pollsters have found Cain at or near the top of the field, with Fox News declaring him a top-tier candidate following its poll last week. That poll found Cain had 17 percent of the vote, trailing Perry by just two points and Romney by five.
A CBS News poll released Tuesday found Romney and Cain tied at 17 percent, with Perry trailing at 12 percent; a YouGov/Economist poll released Thursday found Cain leading with 21 percent, four points ahead of Romney.
Though many have questioned Cain’s viability as a legitimate candidate, voters are clearly giving him another look.
The IBOPE Zogby International poll is based on an online October 3�“5 survey of 1,581 voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. The sample of likely Republican primary voters included 796 Americans, and has an margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.