It's unknown whether Herman Cain will fold his tent this week following accusations of 13 year affair, but it is clear that if he does, Mitt Romney will not be the beneficiary.
Last night we went into the field in Florida and Montana- we'll have the results of those polls out tomorrow after another night of calls but the early indications are that Newt Gingrich will have a double digit lead in both states- he has not peaked yet and is still on an upward curve.
If Herman Cain really ends up dropping out of the race Gingrich's surge should continue in the next few weeks, unless/until something starts happening to erode his popularity. Why? Because Cain's supporters absolutely love Gingrich. And they absolutely hate Mitt Romney.
Our last national survey found that Gingrich's favorability with Cain voters was 73/21. Meanwhile Romney's was 33/55. That's the same basic trend we've seen in every Republican primary poll we've done in the month of November. On average in 7 polls we've done this month Gingrich's favorability with Cain voters is 69/22. Romney's average is 31/57. In other words Gingrich's net favorability is 73 points better with Cain supporters than Romney's.
It would seem that as long as there is a credible alternative to Romney, GOP voters would much prefer them to the former Massachusetts governor. Romney is still the overwhelming second choice for Republican voters, but that won't help him match Gingrich in the south and west - which is where the contests will move after South Carolina.