A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds that Obama earns 39% support while Cain attracts 34%. In that match-up, 14% prefer some other candidate, and 14% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Data released earlier today shows that voters nationwide are evenly divided as to whether or not Cain is qualified to be president — 30% say yes, 33% no, and 37% are not sure. Republicans, by a 49% to 17% margin believe he is qualified while most Democrats disagree. Among Republicans, Cain’s numbers on this question are similar to Rick Perry’s but not as strong as Mitt Romney’s.
This says a lot about Cain’s steady debate performances, in which he has exclusively focused on attacking Obama but not his fellow Republicans, but it says even more about the president’s weakness as the incumbent. Obama’s economic chickens are coming home to roost. Cain’s name recognition is nowhere near that of the president (or most of the other GOP contenders), yet he’s becoming a viable presidential contender in no small part just by being so much more relevant and credible than the current president. As I’ve said before, the race is shaping up to be one in which the GOP nominee will have the presidency to lose.