Basically, the entire Washington media could have collectively called in sick all week, and it wouldn’t have made a difference – at least not for 70 percent of Republicans. The latest Washington Post/ABC poll, one of the first to be taken post-scandal, reports:
Seven in 10 Republicans say reports that [Herman] Cain made unwanted advances toward two employees when he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s–allegations which have been stiffly rebutted by Cain’s campaign–do not matter when it comes to picking a candidate. …
The poll was conducted Oct. 31 through Nov. 3, starting the evening after Politico first reported the harassment allegations. Support for Cain was basically steady over the four nights of interviewing, even as new charges against him surfaced.
Cain and Mitt Romney are now neck-and-neck, at 23 percent and 24 percent respectively. WaPo notes there’s no telling whether Cain’s support would be even higher at this point if it were not for the scandal, but clearly it hasn’t changed the minds of his current supporters.
This initially seemed surprising, but maybe it shouldn’t have been. With the long history of unfounded smears against Republicans, there’s good reason for many of them to be distrustful of the media. And few concrete details of the allegations have been released so far, making it impossible to know what Cain actually did.
The National Restaurant Association said it would make its decision today on whether one of the accusers could release a statement on her harassment allegations. When more details emerge – it’s only a matter of time – we’ll be able to get a clearer picture of whether this scandal will hurt Cain with voters.