Gov. Rick Perry's gaffe at Wednesday's debate hurt his campaign considerably, according to new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll numbers. NBC's Mike Viqueira reports.
After his flub at a Republican debate on Wednesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has seen his support plummet among GOP primary voters, according to a re-contact of Republicans surveyed in this month’s NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
And after another charge of sexual harassment this week, ex-businessman Herman Cain’s support has stagnated or slightly declined.
“If this was not a good week for Herman Cain, it was an absolutely horrendous week for Rick Perry,” said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this re-survey.
The beneficiaries: “Mitt Romney has slightly improved his position, while Newt Gingrich is the candidate who has gained most from the drops from the Perry and Cain camps,” Hart added.
From Nov. 10-12, Hart Research Associates contacted 102 out of the 248 Republican primary voters who were surveyed in this month’s past NBC/WSJ poll. This re-contact occurred after a woman -- Sharon Bialek -- publicly accused Cain of sexual harassment, and after Perry -- uncomfortably -- was unable to name a third federal department he would cut.
In the national NBC/WSJ poll (conducted Nov. 2-5), Cain and Romney were essentially deadlocked in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. And among these 102 Republican respondents, Cain was the first choice of 28 percent of them, while Romney, the former Massachusetts governors, was the choice of 27 percent. They were followed by former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 17 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul at 10 percent and Perry at 8 percent.
But in the re-survey of these 102 Republican respondents, Romney’s support jumped up to 32 percent, Cain’s dropped to 27 percent and Gingrich’s increased to 22 percent.
And Perry fell to just 4 percent.
Increased concerns about voting for Cain
While Cain’s support declined just one percentage point in the re-survey of the GOP horserace, more Republicans now say they have concerns about voting for him after being accused of sexual harassment.
In last week’s NBC/WSJ poll, a combined 17 percent of these 102 respondents said they were concerned “a great deal” or “quite a bit,” and 54 percent said they weren’t concerned at all.
But 28 percent of them now say they are concerned “a great deal” or “quite a bit,” while 46 percent have no concerns.
In addition, 43 percent now said they don’t believe the allegations are true, while 24 percent believe that they are.
“I am very concerned about the allegations,” said one respondent in an open-ended question about what they like and dislike about Cain. “I think that there is a lot of strength to them -- considering that there has been three to four allegations so far.”
Said another: “I don’t know about the allegations or sexual exploits are true or not. But so many people are accusing him, it doesn’t sound like it is all that great.”
Despite the allegations, however, many of the respondents are still enthusiastic about voting for Cain.
“I like the fact that he is not a politician,” said another respondent. “Not a professional politician. I like his spontaneity. He tells it as he sees it. I trust him.”
Added another: “His business experience. His 9-9-9 plan sounds good. He is conservative, and I think he shows enthusiasm for getting the economy back into shape.”
More positive feelings about Romney
In last week’s NBC/WSJ poll, 49 percent of these 102 respondents had positive feelings about Romney, compared with 14 percent who had negative feelings.
But in the re-survey, positive feelings about him jumped to 62 percent, and 10 percent had negative feelings.
Attitudes about Cain were fairly stable: In last week’s poll, it was 51 percent positive/20 percent negative; now, it’s 56 percent positive/24 percent negative.
As for Perry, his numbers went from 38 percent positive/24 percent negative, to 28 percent positive/33 percent negative.
And Romney increased his lead in a head-to-head match up against Cain. In last week’s poll, 51 percent picked Cain, while 47 percent chose Romney.
But after these 102 Republicans were re-contacted, 56 percent sided with Romney, compared with 43 percent who selected Cain.