Herman Cain appears to be the latest Tea Party sensation.
A new poll from Public Policy Polling has the one-time Godfather's Pizza CEO leading Mitt Romney by eight percentage points, 30 percent to 22 percent.
Those are the exact same percentages the very same polling outfit reported yesterday for Cain and Romney in Iowa where the first formal GOP presidential preference caucuses will occur in early January.
PPP's national poll had Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker, at 15 percent and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 14 percent. Tom Jensen at PPP writes that Cain's gain is Tea Party-fueled:
Strong Tea Party support has Cain in the driver's seat nationally, just as he has been on our last four individual state polls. With non-Tea Party Republicans Romney actually leads Cain 29-27.
But with the Tea Party crowd Cain is getting 39% with Gingrich at 16%, Perry at 14%, and Romney in 4th place at 13%. Romney doesn't need to win the Tea Partiers to be the Republican nominee. But he does need to finish better than 4th with them.
Before Cainiacs get too excited, this is still just one poll. And recall that both Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann rode the Tea Party wave for a while before it beached them. (Bachmann is now at five percent, the same as Rep. Ron Paul in the national poll.)
Also, the phone calls for the poll were conducted before Tuesday night's debate.
One more thing, Cain's numbers seem to be as much about dissatisfaction with the field, especially frontrunner Romney, as anything else.
Another excerpt from Jensen's post:
There are indications within the poll that Cain's stay at the top could be short lived. Only 30% of his supporters are solidly committed to him with 70% saying they might still go on to support someone else.
Still, it's a striking and historic result even if it's transitory. It is the first time an African American who is a declared candidate for the Republican presidential nomination tops a national poll from a reputable public opinion organization.