So, what to make of the relative praise Herman Cain is getting after last night’s first GOP 2012 presidential debate?
In case you missed it, Cain was the overwhelming winner of the post-debate instant survey conducted by pollster Frank Luntz on the “Hannity” show. And do I ever mean overwhelming: The group of viewers had just one person who admitted to favoring The Hermanator before the debate, but a majority of them said they supported him afterward.
Here’s a clip of the focus group:
But there’s that word: relative.
None of these reviews, while favorable, could be described as glowing (except for the Luntz crowd’s reaction). The big guns, as I mentioned yesterday, skipped the debate. And Cain still needs to prove he’s thought deeply about issues besides the economy and the federal budget (e.g., foreign policy).
I have to admit, I was very surprised by the focus group’s reaction. I thought Cain did well, but not that well. (One caveat: I ended up missing the part that focused most directly on the economy — Cain’s bread and butter — to help out with my 2-year-old.)
I think Cain’s performance last night, assuming he builds on it, will help keep him in the race longer than many people may have expected when he announced his candidacy. But ultimately, I wonder whether his “winning” the debate says more about Tim Pawlenty, who came into the debate considered the presumptively stronger candidate, than about Cain.
– By Kyle Wingfield