CONCORD, N.H. — Former restaurant-industry executive Herman Cain has catapulted to the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, as GOP voters grow disenchanted with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and remain wary of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.Also at Public Policy Polling, "Cain leads nationally" (via Memeorandum).
Drawn by Mr. Cain's blunt, folksy style in recent debates, 27% of Republican primary voters picked him as their first choice for the nomination, a jump of 22 percentage points from six weeks ago.
Mr. Romney held firm in second place at 23%, his same share as in a Journal poll in late August, while Mr. Perry plummeted to 16%, from 38% in August.
The poll of 1,000 adults, conducted from Oct. 6-10, comes as many Republican donors and officials have begun to rally around Mr. Romney as the party's likely nominee, despite a continued lack of enthusiasm for him documented in the new poll.
For Mr. Cain, the question is whether his newfound prominence, driven in part by his signature "9-9-9" plan to overhaul the tax code, will be a lasting phenomenon in a campaign that has seen many others surge and then fade. Since the spring, conservatives have given short-lived bursts of support for a string of contenders, including Donald Trump, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and Mr. Perry.
"Will I be the flavor of the week?'' Mr. Cain said Wednesday in New Hampshire, where reporters followed him as he addressed the state legislature. "Well, the answer is an emphatic, 'No,' because Häagen-Dazs black walnut tastes good all the time."
Mr. Cain in many ways isn't operating a traditional campaign. He was on tour promoting his new book in recent weeks, and he will make stops between Memphis and Nashville on Friday and Saturday, though Tennessee is unlikely to factor in the Republican nomination. He doesn't plan to return to Iowa, site of the first nominating contest, for weeks, his aides say.
Cain discusses the Wall Street protests around 10 minutes at the video.
See also The Other McCain, "Pundette Likes Herman Cain."