The recent allegations by several women about sexual harassment by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain have been met with scorn and skepticism among many GOP voters. In fact, the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted the weekend after news reports of those charges appeared, finds many Republicans rejecting the women’s claims — and even saying that the charges are part of a smear campaign by Cain’s GOP rivals.
Nearly every registered voter who plans to vote in a Republican primary or caucus next year has heard of the charges of harassment, which were made during the period Cain led the National Restaurant Association (93% have). By more than two to one, they believe that Cain is not guilty of the charges, something Cain has claimed all week long. However, the public overall is not so sure of his innocence.
Half of Republican voters say the charges are part of a smear campaign and have come from rival GOP candidate operations. 43% of GOP voters believe that, and only 22% do not. On this question, the public overall is not much different: 38% of all Americans say the charges are part of a smear campaign, 26% say they are not.
And GOP voters are much more likely than the public overall to say they would consider voting for someone who had been accused of sexual harassment. Of course, Cain has been leading the Republican field for the last few weeks, and though his lead has disappeared in the last week, he remains near the top. 55% of Republican voters would consider voting for a candidate against whom such accusations had been made. Just 30% overall say that.
Photo source: Press Association