In a straw poll held yesterday afternoon in Columbia, Cain took 55 percent of the votes cast.
Newt Gingrich, the former U.S. House representative from Georgia, came in a distant second with 14.5 percent, while Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann took eight percent for third place.
The approximate 200 participants represented 25 Tea Party organizations in the state.
A straw poll at the recent Orangeburg County Fair was taken by Cain, too. Conducted Oct. 3 – 9 by that county’s Republican Party, and with a much larger pool of 6,520 voters, Cain won with 37.4 percent of the vote.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was a close second with 35.2 percent, and Mitt Romney was a distant third in the pool of 12 candidates, taking only 11.1 percent.
And Cain led in yet another recent poll of Republican voters statewide. Conducted Oct. 10 by American Research Group, Cain bested nine other GOP candidates, receiving 26 percent of the vote.
Romney took second with 25 percent and Perry won 15; 12 percent of the poll participants were undecided.
This marks notable improvement for Cain since ARG’s last South Carolina poll in July, when he placed fourth of 11 candidates with 10 percent. Romney remains unchanged with 25 percent.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani were removed from the slate; they received 16 and 6 percent, respectively, in ARG’s July poll.
“Cain is on fire here in S.C.,” said Brendan Steinhauser, an organizer with the FreedomWorks organization credited with helping to organize the Tea Party movement in the U.S.
Democrats in South Carolina respond positively to Cain’s rise in local popularity, though, as they regard him to be an easy opponent.
In fact, one group (SC Forward Progress) even produced a video welcoming improvement in local reception of the businessman known for operating Godfather’s Pizza.
In an average of recent polls, including ARG’s, Obama would easily win a general election with 45.6 percent vote to Cain’s 38.2.
Associated Press reports today that Cain worked with Americans for Prosperity, an anti-regulation political advocacy group that is funded by the Koch Family Foundations. Cain’s campaign manager and some campaign aides worked for AFP, too.
“Initially, many people pictured Cain only as a successful entrepreneur,” says Deborah Mortellaro, executive committee member of the Dorchester County Democratic Party. “But this revelation of his association with (AFP) casts a completely different picture of him.
“He’s not who voters thought he was. He’s just another Koch brothers’ pawn.”
AFP and FreedomWorks were created in 2004 by splitting the Citizens for a Sound Economy organization into two separate groups. CSE was directly created by the Koch brothers.
Included in its agenda, AFP opposes laws pertaining to environmental protection and health care, argues for lower taxes on wealth.
Cain also supports requirements of a photo voter ID, an issue passed into law earlier this year by South Carolina republicans and currently under review by the U.S. Dept. of Justice. Approximately 180,000 registered voters in the state are at risk of losing that right, and new voter registrants are being affected, as well.
On Oct. 7, Cain’s South Carolina campaign headquarters were opened in West Columbia.
The state’s republican presidential primary election takes place Jan. 21.
Cain surge welcomed by So. Car. democrats
Potential loophole to Voter ID, but challenge still needed, says SC ProNet
Voter ID problems extend to new and returning residents