Gallup: Herman Cain Is Top Choice of Tea Party and Southerners

By Terence P. Jeffrey | October 18, 2011 | 11:37am EDT

Herman Cain speaks with reporters in Washington, D.C., after appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Oct. 16, 2011. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

( - Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party favor Herman Cain for president by a 9-point margin, according to Gallup.

Cain also leads among Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who live in the South and Midwest, with the South being his strongest geographical region.

Romney, meanwhile, leads in the West and East, with the East being his strongest region.

In the poll, which was released Friday, 27 percent of self-identifed Tea Party supporters said they favor Cain for president. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was second among the Tea Partiers with 18 percent and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was third with 17 percent.

Among all the Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents who made up Gallup's polling sample, there was a tight race, with Romney at 20 percent, Cain at 18 percent, and Perry at 15 percent.

But when the Tea Party supporters were removed from the sample, Romney jumped out to a large lead. Among non-Tea Partiers, the former Massachusetts governor was at 26 percent, with Perry at 13 percent and Cain at 8 percent.

While reporting on how the top 8 Republican presidential candidates did among different ideological and geographical groups, Gallup did not report how all 8 top Republican presidential candidates faired among Tea Party supporters. For this group, the pollling company only reported how Cain, Romney and Perry faired.

Gallup published its own analysis of its Republican poll results under a Romney-centric headline: “Romney Competitive With Top GOP Rivals Among Conservatives.”

In fact, according to the poll (which was conducted Oct. 3-7), Cain was the top choice among self-described conservative Republicans, just as he was the top choice among self-described Republican Tea Party supporters.

Romney, by contrast, was the top choice among self-described moderate and liberal Republicans—while Cain was weaker among this group than among any other subset of Republicans cited in Gallup’s analysis of the poll.

Twenty-three percent of conservative Republicans said they supported Cain, while Romney and Perry were tied for second at 18 percent. Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were tied for fourth among conservative Republicans, each getting the backing of 8 percent. They were followed by Rep. Michele Bachmann at 4 percent, former Sen. Rick Santorum at 2 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman at 1 percent.

Among moderate and liberal Republicans, Romney was at 25 percent, followed by Perry at 12 percent, Paul at 10 percent, Cain at 9 percent, Bachmann at 7 percent, Gingrich at 5 percent, Huntsman at 3 percent and Santorum at 2 percent.

This Gallup poll showing Cain leading among Republican Tea Party supporters contradicts the view expressed by some liberals that the Tea Party is racist and motivated by a desire to remove a black president from office.

For example, appearing on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” on Sept. 25, actor Morgan Freeman  said: “Look at the—look--the Tea Partiers, who are controlling the Republican party, their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term. … What underlines that? Screw the country. We're going to do whatever we need to do to get this black man, we can, we're going to do whatever we can to get this black man out of here.”

Appearing on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” last Friday, actor Sean Penn and expressed agreement with Morgan Freeman.

“You have what I call the get the 'N' word out of the White House party, the Tea Party, this kind of sensibility, which is much more of a distraction,” said Penn.

“Well, I had Morgan Freeman on--one of your movie colleagues,” Piers Morgan said to Penn. “And he was very passionate about that very subject, saying there are elements of the Tea Party who just, as he said, want to get the black man out of the White House. He said it on this show.”

Said Penn: I don't think there's any doubt about it.”

In addition to leading in the Gallup poll among Republican Tea Party supporters, Cain is also leading among Republicans in the South. Here, he is at 21 percent, followed by Perry with 19 percent, Romney with 15 percent, Paul with 9 percent, Gingrich with 8 percent, Bachmann with 4 percent, Santorum with 2 percent, and Huntsman at 1 percent.

In the Midwest, Cain leads among Republicans with 18 percent, followed by Romney with 17 percent, Perry 15 percent, Paul with 10 percent, Gingrich with 9 percent, Bachmann with 8 percent, Huntsman with 3 percent and Santorum with 1 percent.

Cain’s weakest regions are the West and East, where Romney leads.

In the West, Romney leads Cain 22 percent to 16 percent, according to Gallup; and, in the East, Romney leads Cain 32 percent 15 percent. Perry is third in both regions, with 13 percent in the West and 12 percent in the East.

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