Herman Cain may have his detractors, but Iowans don't appear to be listening: The former Godfather's CEO tops the latest poll from the Des Moines Register with a tidy 23% of likely caucus voters; Perennial would-be-frontrunner Mitt Romney is close at his heels with 22%. Ron Paul leads the back of the pack with 12%, which is a 5-point uptick since the last poll in June. "You always look at these polls like they predict the future, and all they do is measure the noise of the last two weeks,” a GOP strategist tells the Register. Regardless, right now it's “a Cain/Romney race.”
Romney scores points among women, seniors, first-time voters, and those who generally identify with the center-right; his Achilles heel is exposed among self-identified conservatives, where Cain outpaces him 3-to-1. Cain also ranks favorably among men, Tea Partiers, and born-again Christians, and the Register notes that more than half of likely caucusgoers don't think the GOP needs to tack to the center with its nominee. June poll winner Michele Bachmann barely registers in the latest round, with her support having plummeted from 23% to 8%. Click for the latest on Herman Cain.