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Florida gives a boost to Herman Cain

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Last week’s shock poll bringing Herman Cain into third place needed confirmation before we could be sure that Cain was a serious contender.

Two new polls of Florida Republicans by SurveyUSA for WFLA and by War Room Logistics seem to provide that confirmation and more: Both put Herman Cain in second in the key early primary state.

These are not national polls, so they aren’t directly comparable with the last four major national polls, three of which put Rick Perry first, and the fourth which put Perry in second behind Mitt Romney. But that fourth poll seemed to show Perry voters giving Cain another look, and these two bolster that theory.

Facts: SurveyUSA polled 500 likely GOP primary voters, mobile and landline users handled, MoE 4.5. WRL polled 1331 likely voters by phone, and the Republican-only subsample had a MoE of 4.2. The overall poll was weighted, but WRL tell me only the overall results were weighted, but not the Republican results.

In WRL polling of Florida, Herman Cain gains 18.8 points to land at 23.7%, in second behind Romney who gained 3.2 points to land at 28.2%. The big loser was Rick Perry, who fell off the map, losing 15.5% to fall to 9.1%, behind even Newt Gingrich’s 9.8%.

SurveyUSA gives the same top four. Romney leads at 27%, Cain follows at 25%, Perry falls way off to 13%, and Gingrich ends up at 6%.

Fascinating to me is the landline/mobile split in the SUSA poll. In a traditional poll, Romney would have led 34-22-14. But mobile users broke for Cain, giving him 20 to Romney’s 13 and Perry’s 11, which left the overall result so close. Romney’s remaining edge in the poll ends up being from “Moderate” voters, as “Very Conservative” and “Conservative” voters were about evenly split between Romney and Cain, but “Moderates” broke 34-19 for Romney.

Florida of course made headlines for Cain already when he won a straw poll there, but now we have two independent polls appearing to confirm a genuine swell of support for him there. The next national poll could be a critical moment for Rick Perry. If he is confirmed to be crashing nationally, he may have little time to recover, or be relegated to irrelevance like Tim Pawlenty and Michele Bachmann before him.

Crossposted from Unlikely Voter

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