In the last day or so since the Herman Cain sexual harassment allegations broke, it appears Herman Cain’s supporters are sticking by their man.
We still think the reported allegations – and Cain’s shifting responses – may in the end seriously undercut his core strengths: likability and straight talk. In appearances Monday, Cain went from saying he was “unaware of any sort of settlement” with the women making the allegations against him, to telling Fox News that, in fact, one such cash settlement had been worth “maybe three months’ salary,” to telling PBS “I was aware that an agreement was reached.” (Interestingly, he also told PBS he had “no recollection” of asking either of those women to meet him in a hotel room – rather than denying outright that such a request had been made).
But it’s also clear Cain has a few things going for him in all this. As we noted Monday, the accusations so far have been anonymous (and may remain so, since the two women allegedly involved signed non-disclosure agreements, according to POLITICO).
And so far, the conservative base seems to be rallying behind him – treating the matter as an outrageous smear campaign ginned up by a political opponent and/or the liberal media establishment.
Along those lines, one of the most interesting stories today comes from The Des Moines Register – which just this weekend had released a poll showing Cain leading the GOP field in the Hawkeye State.
The Register contacted more than 20 of the poll’s Republican respondents for follow-up interviews in the wake of the Cain scandal – and found that none of them said the allegations would cause them to reject Cain as a potential pick. Here’s one of the responses they got:
“Poll respondent Rick Hall, a Des Moines accountant, said, “Unless it rolls into something undeniably very bad at his core, it will have no effect on my feeling about Mr. Cain as far as a viable candidate. It happened far enough ago, I’m not surprised that this thing wouldn’t follow many highly placed corporate officers.”
Along with this:
Renfred Miller, a 27-year-old West Des Moines resident who works in sales, said it would have been nice to hear about the situation from Cain first, “but obviously he thought it was baseless and didn’t matter.”
After witnessing costly regulations on farms and at the local feed mill, Adam Cook, 25, an agronomist from Ellsworth, still likes Cain best, partly because he wants to do away with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. “I’m not really worried about it,” Cook said of the sexual harassment allegations.
And then there’s this: Cain’s campaign says it raised $250,000 yesterday – one of the campaign’s best fundraising days ever.
Of course, it’s still early. It usually takes a while for the true impact of stories like this to become evident. And if more information emerges that seems to contradict Cain’s version of events, his supporters may change their minds.
But at least for now, it appears they’re inclined to stick with him.