If you can stand another post about Herman Cain this morning — Nate Silver has a post about Cain’s chances for winning the nomination.
If all you had to go on was the polls, you might think that Mr. Cain was the favorite to win the Republican nomination.
But then there are the nonpolling factors, some of which can be objectively measured and some of which cannot, but which would generally point toward Mr. Cain as being a second- or third-tier candidate. Mr. Cain has no endorsements from Republican members of Congress or Republican governors, and very few from officials in key early voting states. He has raised very little money. He has not hired well-known names for his campaign staff. He does not have traditional credentials. He has run for elected office just once before. He has begun to get a fair amount of media coverage, but the tenor of it has been fairly skeptical. His campaign commercials have been … interesting.
Has there ever been a candidate with such strong polling but such weak fundamentals? Almost certainly not, at least not at this relatively advanced stage of the race.
I’m just speculating here, but what this might be telling us is that endorsements and positive media coverage may mean much less to the Republican voting base than it used to.
According to (don’t click if you’re at work) this video, Cain coverage has been dominating Fox News lately. This is not all good coverage, mind you, but Fox viewers sure as heck have seen a lot of Cain.
Recently Karl Rove did a takedown of Cain on Fox News that was supposed to be devastating. Politico ran a headline about it that said “Karl Rove sticks a fork in Herman Cain.” I did a quick survey of rightie blog reaction to this, and I saw not one post or comment that agreed with Rove; most just yelled at him to get off the lawn, so to speak. Rove appears to have no authority at all with the base.
On the other hand, I take it Rush is still promoting Cain, who is running ads on Rush’s show.
Nate says you can find examples of candidates with strong “fundamentals” (endorsements; the support of the establishment) and weak polling. One example that comes to mind was Haley Barbour, whom the GOP establishment and bobbleheads kept promoting as a real contender, but the base ignored him. But it’s unprecedented, at this point in the campaign cycle, to have a candidate who is polling this strongly but whose fundamentals are next to zilch.
Would the Republican voters nominate a black candidate? I’ve said for some time that the dynamics of racism on the Right are more complicated than they were when Lester Maddox and his axe handle ran for governor of Georgia on a segregation platform. The wingnuts might vote for a black candidate who (a) assures them they are not really racists, like those liberals keep saying; and (b) is not likely to come anywhere near their womenfolk.