Matt Lewis

Herman Cain still leading on ‘Positive Intensity Score’ (and why it matters)

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

A staff shake-up might have made this a bumpy week for Herman Cain, but his supporters don’t seem to mind.

Despite the public relations challenges, Cain continues to lead Gallup’s “Positive Intensity Score,” meaning that the people who know who he is tend to have a strong favorable opinion of him. This is an area where Cain has excelled since joining the race in May.

Meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann (who is second to Cain in terms of positive intensity) is down four points in terms of her positive intensity from last week (when she and Cain were tied).

To be sure, Cain still has work to do in terms of raising his name identification. A lot of people still don’t know who he is. Presumably, though, fixing that is a much easier task than raising ones positive intensity score (which his opponents must do) — so Cain is still well positioned going forward.

Moreover, it seems to me that dominating this category is perhaps the best “insurance” Cain could have against the vagaries of a still unsettled campaign field. The fact that Cain’s supporters have intense feelings for him implies they are less likely to peel off should a Rick Perry or a Sarah Palin enter the field.

And it’s clear that Cain’s loyal supporters aren’t about to abandon him over the sort of missteps or campaign turmoil that political reporters love to obsess over. Some campaigns fall apart during times of adversity. But this is a candidate who can take a punch.