HuffPo: Democrats Starting to Take Herman Cain Seriously

Posted: Jun 02, 2011 9:13 AM

Some Republican campaign operatives may still be inclined to treat Herman Cain as little more than a novelty candidate, but Democrats are reportedly mobilizing to avoid underestimating the Atlanta-based businessman:

Yet another poll suggests Republican voters are giving serious consideration to presidential hopeful Herman Cain, the still relatively mysterious pizza magnate who has electrified conservative activists. The Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling is set to release numbers Wednesday showing Cain in a two-way tie for second place in the GOP primary among Iowa voters.

The poll -- which has former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 21 percent and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and Cain at 15 percent -- is not, necessarily, an outlier. In a Gallup poll released slightly more than one week ago, Cain registered the highest Positive Intensity Score among Republican voters of anyone either in or thinking of entering the GOP field. The data points are good enough that Democrats have noticed: The Democratic National Committee began the process of conducting rapid response to his campaign last week.

"Herman Cain is for real and is making a bunch of established pols look weak to ridiculous," a top party strategist emailed the Huffington Post on Tuesday night. "[Tim Pawlenty] has banked his whole shot on Iowa and is getting beat by...Herman Cain? Romney's ahead - so what's Romney's excuse for all but bypassing Iowa altogether?"

Sure, this piece gives unnamed Democratic sources a chance to take potshots at a few of the GOP field's perceived "top tier" candidates, but it's not too surprising Cain is starting to attract some attention.  He drew 10,000 supporters to his announcement rally, turned in a strong performance at the first Republican debate last month, and has vaulted into the upper tier in a number of recent polls.