Poll: Herman Cain Surges in New Hampshire

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 10 2011 1:58 PM

Poll: Herman Cain Surges in New Hampshire

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Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain waves as he arrives to address the Family Research Council's Values Voter Summit in Washington on October 7, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

The dark horse candidate's meteoric state-to-state rise continues in New Hampshire, which has never looked to be a particular source of his strength. The new poll from the Harvard and St. Anselm New Hampshire Institutes of Politics, taken between 10/2 and 10/6, puts Cain at 20 percent, only 18 points behind Mitt Romney.

Mitt Romney - 38%
Herman Cain - 20%
Ron Paul - 13%
Newt Gingrich - 5%
Jon Huntsman - 4%
Rick Perry - 4%
Michele Bachmann - 3%
Gary Johnson - 1%
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The internals reveal that Cain is the favored candidate of Tea Partiers (no surprise), but they appear to leave something out. Five candidates (and two non-candidates) have "name identification ratings and net favorability ratings," revealing how many voters know them, and whether or not they like them. Cain doesn't have those ratings? The reason: The pollsters did not anticipate his surge.

"Unfortunately, we put the thing in the computer right before the Cain boomlet," explained Trey Grayson, the former Kentucky Secretary of State who's now at Harvard's Kennedy School. "The favorable number is missing because it's not in the poll. It's not that it's not there -- it's that it's not there in our list of questions."

That's how fast Cain gained ground.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.