MARION COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) - By a small margin, likely Republican voters in Marion County said they would vote for Herman Cain if the party’s presidential primary election were held at the time they were asked, according to the WISH-TV/Franklin College Poll.
In the poll, conducted between Oct. 29 and 31, 19 percent of self-identified Republican, independent or undecided voters indicated current support for Herman Cain. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was the candidate next in line, with 14 percent of potential voters giving him their current support, and then former Congressman Newt Gingrich, with 10 percent of potential voters’ support.
All other candidates currently seeking the nomination pulled in polled support in single digits or less.
The poll was conducted before accusations of sexual harassment emerged against Cain, the former CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain.
A report published Sunday night said at least two women had complained about Cain’s behavior while he was head of a Washington-based trade group, the National Restaurant Association. The report also said the women had been given financial settlements. Wednesday, a third woman told The Associated Press she had also considered filing a complaint after Cain, she said, made sexually suggestive remarks.
The Cain campaign has struggled to deal with the allegations, with Cain himself first denying any knowledge of the settlements, then later admitting he knew of one agreement and recalled the incident it involved.
By Tuesday, Cain was chalking up the confusion to semantics, saying he was aware of an "agreement" but not a "settlement."
"It looked like I had changed my story," Cain told CNN Headline News. "I didn't change my story."
There is indication, however, that the controversy has not damaged his support from conservative Republicans who have been driving his bid: His fundraising surged on Monday. Mark Block, his chief of staff, said the campaign raised as much as $250,000 in a day, and Cain said it was one of his best fundraising days ever.
Several recent national polls have reflected the same order of preference, with Cain as the frontrunner, then Romney, then Gingrich.
In an interview with Forbes, Cain has tried to lay blame for the leaked information that led to the accusations and settlements being revealed at the feet of his competitors. He specifically named a consultant to Texas Gov. Rick Perry, running fourth in recent national polls and in the WISH-TV/Franklin College poll – in which he received 7 percent current support – as the likely source. Perry’s campaign has categorically denied that accusation or any prior knowledge of the settlements.
And the likely Marion County Republican voters that responded to the poll reflect the general uncertainty that still surrounds the party’s nomination process. Nearly one in four respondents said they were undecided on who they would support if the primary election were held now, or refused to give a preference. Another 11 percent said they would not vote in the GOP primary if it were held now.
WISH-TV and Franklin College turned to Lansing, Mich. based EPIC-MRA to conduct the independent survey among registered voters in Marion County.
Conducted Between Oct. 29 and 31, the survey spoke with hundreds of eligible voters in Marion County. The survey contained a sample size of 400 and a margin of error of +/- 4.9.
Which of the following Republican candidates for President would you vote for?
- 19% Herman Cain
- 14% Mitt Romney
- 10% Newt Gingrinch
- 7% Rick Perry
- 7% volunteered someone else
- 5% Ron Paul
- 2% Michelle Bachman
- 1% John Huntsman
- --- Rick Santorum
- 11% Won't vote in GOP Presidential Primary
- 24% Undecided/Refused
The Associated Press contributed to this report.