Ricochet Members pick Cain over Romney, 46% to 26%, in a classic trade-off of ideology vs. electability. While Romney is seen by 90% of Members as electable, 78% don't think he's conservative enough. In contrast, two-thirds see Cain as electable and a majority think he has "no serious flaws."
Our second Center of Gravity poll paints a picture of three GOP presidential candidates -- Cain, Perry, and Romney -- breaking away from the pack.
About half of respondents wouldn't vote for either Jon Huntsman or Ron Paul even if each was the only alternative to our current president. 45% of you wouldn't vote for Huntsman, mostly because he's seen as not conservative enough, another 47% think Ron Paul is too flawed along an unspecified but seemingly non-political dimension.
There's a sharp divide seen in the electability of the candidates. Seven of the thirteen potential candidates are seen as electable by fewer than 30% of respondents, while the other six candidates are seen as electable by at least 65% -- no candidate scores in between. Unfortunately, only three of the six seen as electable are running: Cain, Perry, and Romney.
A plurality of respondents give Herman Cain the Buckley award for being the most conservative candidate who can get elected.
Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, in particular, score very high on every level: they have virtually no detractors among the respondents, when pitted against Obama; they're considered highly electable; and they're seen as very conservative. Chris Christie has more detractors, but is second only to Romney in perceived electability.
Although Mitt Romney isn't viewed as particularly conservative, he scores highest (91%) in electability. 17% of Ricochet respondents wouldn't support him against Obama.
Rick Perry is seen as more conservative than Romney, but not quite as electable. 10% of Ricochet respondents wouldn't support him against Obama.
In our inaugural poll, Ricochet Members picked Herman Cain as their clear favorite, followed by Perry and Romney in a statistical tie. The debates have changed the candidate preferences for half of you.
Q1: If the election were held today, who would you vote for?
Herman Cain - 38.8%
Rick Perry - 24.6%
Mitt Romney - 23.1%
Newt Gingrich - 4.8%
Rick Santorum - 3.5%
Ron Paul - 2.3%
Michele Bachmann - 2.0%
Jon Huntsman - 1.0%
Q2: Have the debates changed your mind about who to vote for?
Yes - 51.8%
No - 48.2%
The poll was conducted from September 28-29. Question 2 has a margin of error of +/- 4.3 pct. pts at a 95% level of confidence. A third question was discarded because it was ambiguously worded.