Donald Trump and Herman Cain had the most interesting poll numbers last week.
In an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Mitt Romney led the field of perspective 2012 GOP candidates at 21%. Trump, though, was tied for second with former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 17%. In another poll done by Public Policy Polling of potential New Hampshire voters, Mitt Romney led with 27% and Trump again came in second with 21%.
These poll numbers gave the media license to incessantly cover Trump. Of course, Trump’s statements about how he has serious doubts about whether President Obama was born in the United States further put a spotlight on him.
Trump’s high poll numbers do not necessarily indicate support for Trump the person or his doubts about whether Obama was born in America. Rather, Trump’s high poll numbers may indicate support for his anti-establishment, straight talk, and nationalistic message and further indicate a general distaste for the more familiar faces associated with the GOP.
The advantage Trump has over Cain at the moment is near-universal name recognition and a platform given to him by the mainstream media and cable outlets that allows him to get his message out across the airwaves.
Cain’s message, which currently lacks Trump’s megaphone, is similar if not better than Trump’s. Cain has not held elective office, and when asked whether this would be a liability he retorts back and asks how career politicians have worked out for everyone. Cain started with much less than Trump, failed less in the private sector than Trump has, and has turned around Burger Kings and pizza chains that no one expected him to turn around (perhaps he could use that as a symbol of how he could turn around a country many fear is headed the way of Rome).
Cain’s private sector experience and success is a stark contrast from Obama’s complete lack of experience. Critics claim Obama’s lack of experience in the private sector prevents him from successfully understanding how to negotiate on behalf of the United States and appreciating the role of the private sector in the economy.
Assuming Cain announces a run for the Presidency, he will get a megaphone at national debates and forums. And when voters hear what Cain has to say, those who are inclined toward Trump’s message may end up giving Cain some serious consideration.
It is something to watch going forward, as Cain does well when people see and hear him. For instance, he won the America’s Policy Forum straw poll in Phoenix among attendees and also came out on top in Steve King’s Conservative Princples Conference in Iowa.