10:22am

Fri November 4, 2011
It's All Politics

Poll: Cain Still Tied With Romney Despite Sex Harassment Claims

There's been anecdotal evidence, and certainly plenty of signs on social media, that many Republicans still say Herman Cain is their choice for president despite the revelation that the restaurant trade group he once headed paid monetary settlements to women who accused him of sexual harassment.

Now we have some data. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll says Cain is statistically tied with Mitt Romney in the race for the Republican presidential nomination.

The former Massachusetts governor, Romney, is at 24 percent while Cain, one-time head of Godfather's Pizza, was at 23 percent. The poll was the first conducted since news broke Sunday that the National Restaurant Association paid settlements to two women who accused Cain of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior when he chaired the trade group in the late 1990s.

In a finding that probably tells us more about how much party identification colors perspective, seven in ten Republicans said the sex harassment settlements and charges generally don't matter.

I haven't yet seen a poll that puts the same question to Democrats and independents but who doubts that the result would be far different?

The poll was taken after Politico reported that Cain was accused of sexually harassing at least two women when they all worked at the National Restaurant Association during the late 1990s.

The trade group paid the women settlements, reportedly $45,000 in once case and $35,000 in the other and the women left the trade group bound by confidentiality agreements.

Since the initial Politico story a third woman says she was harassed by the presidential candidate, a Republican consultant has come forward to say he witnessed some of the harassment and Cain, who first denied the stories has repeatedly shifted and contradicted himself.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.