With the far right wing no longer satisfied by the spotlessness of Rick Perry's conservative record, Herman Cain has begun to rise as an alternative for movement conservatives. He won a decisive first place at the Florida GOP's straw poll two weeks ago, which was followed by a bump in his polls. One survey of national Republicans conducted last week put Cain in third, while, as Jamelle noted earlier, a new poll from this morning has Cain tied with Perry for second. Floridians keep loving him too, with Cain now polling a strong second to Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State.
The fact that Republican voters like Cain is no surprise. He's hosted a popular right-wing radio show for several years and was active on the conservative speaking circuit long before he launched a presidential bid. He's a fantastic speaker when you watch him in person, and with his 9-9-9 tax plan, Cain is one of the only Republican candidates willing to offer a policy proposal to distinguish himself for the field.
Yet I can't see his poll bounce lasting more than a few weeks. Cain has gained primarily from Rick Perry's drop after the Texas governor flubbed the last debate. Cain is just the latest flag bearer for the Tea Party wing who has not been subjected to much national scrutiny, so the areas where he has broken from Tea Party purity haven't received the harsh glare of media attention or debate attacks. With his increased presence, Cain has already begun to be attacked by conservative outlets for daring to question Rick Perry's racist ranch.
Much like Michele Bachmann after her Iowa straw poll win, Cain will fall back in the field again, with his new supporters likely returning to Perry's camp as the actual nomination process begins and the combination of social conservatives and Tea Partiers muster their forces around one candidate to prevent their dreaded-moderate Romney from leading the ticket in 2012.