Herman Cain already unpopular with female voters

at 10:54 AM ET, 10/31/2011

Even before allegations of sexual harassment against Herman Cain surfaced, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO polled poorly with female voters. The numbers suggest that compared with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney , Cain is in big trouble with this demographic.
Republican Presidential hopeful Herman Cain campaigns in Talladega, Ala., Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (Dave Martin - AP)

In four early primary states, according to recent CNN polls,Romney significantly outperformed Cain with female Republicans in every contest save South Carolina. In Iowa, where the two contenders are statistically tied, Romney took 28 percent of female voters and Cain got 17.

Politico reported Sunday that Cain was accused of sexual harassment by two former employees at the National Restaurant Association, which he led in the 1990s, and that the women left with financial settlements. Cain told Fox News Monday that he “never sexually harassed anyone” and “was falsely accused.”

If even more women turn against Cain, it could give Romney — who already does better with female than male voters — the chance to pull ahead in the GOP presidential primary.

The Des Moines Register wrote Sunday that in the new Iowa poll that showed Cain and Romney neck-and-neck, men were behind Cain’s success — 26 percent prefer him while only 18 percent backed Romney. The numbers were almost exactly the reverse for Romney with female respondents — the former governor beat Cain 27 to 17 percent.

A national CNN survey last week found Cain performing ten points better with men than with women while tying Romney overall. Fox News found similar results. And in recent Time magazine head-to-head matchups with President Obama, Romney was only 8 points behind Obama with women while Cain was 21 points back.

While conservatives rallied around Texas Gov. Rick Perry after the Post reported on a racial slur written on a rock at the candidate’s hunting camp, so far Cain has not gotten similar support.

Conservative Women for America, a right-leaning Christian group, is asked for more answers from Cain; the group’s president told Politico she once left a job due to sexual harassment. So did former White House press secretary Dana Perino said on Fox News Monday morning. Strategist Karl Rove and former National Republican Campaign Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) also criticized Cain’s response.

Q&A Transcript

" In the wake of harassment allegations, is Herman Cain done as a serious GOP contender?"

Aaron Blake

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