- (Reuters/Jason Reed)
GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain has had a busy week responding to allegations of sexual misconduct. Despite the controversy, Cain’s support among the GOP base remains fairly strong.
A Rasmussen Reports poll has Cain leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 3 percentage points as of Thursday among self-described conservative voters. Also on Thursday, a Cain spokesman released a statement revealing that his candidate has raked in over $1.2 million in donations since Sunday, despite being hounded by attacks on his character.
"Mr. Cain's supporters around the country have rallied around him, and we have been encouraged by their strong showing," spokesman J.D. Gordon said in an email to Reuters.
Despite the positive gains in contributions, Cain is still well behind the other GOP front-runners. Romney has raised about $32 million so far and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who entered the race late, has garnered $17 million.
The Cain campaign sent out an email on Friday announcing his newly formed Iowa Fund. Despite spending little time in the state, within just a few days the fund has already topped the $100,000 mark. Cain thanks his supporters and says that his “opponents, the liberal media, and President Obama are intimidated” by his policy plans and “have launched vicious public attacks on [him and his] campaign.”
Over the past week Cain has denied any wrongdoing regarding sexual allegations. Two women, and possibly a third, have come forth claiming that Cain sexually harassed them when he was president of the National Restaurant Association more than 10 years ago.
Cain has provided the media with conflicting comments with what he knew about the allegations which has helped keep the story in the news. He recently blamed Perry’s campaign for leaking the story, though Perry denies it. As the only conservative African-American running for president, Cain believes the “attacks” are due to racism.
However, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, more than half (55 percent) of leaned Republicans say the sexual harassment controversy is not a serious matter and 69 percent say it makes no difference in their likelihood of supporting Cain.
Specifically, 7 in 10 Republican participants said that the allegations did not matter when picking a candidate.
Unfortunately for Cain, the good news provided in this poll comes with some bad news as well. Although the controversy has not dismantled his campaign yet, it does pose risks. Slightly under four in 10 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in ABC’s poll say the allegations are a serious matter 23 percent say it makes them less likely to support Cain. Among this group, Romney leads Cain by 20 percentage points.
If the Cain controversy becomes any more out of control, he could lose this valuable group needed to edge out Romney for the nomination.
However, Cain is hopeful.
“This will not deter me” in the race for the White House, Cain declared, according to The Associated Press.
“As of today,” he said, “we’re back on message and we’re going to stay on message, and we’ve answered all of these questions.”