Three September debates have shaken-up the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Herman Cain has jumped into the top tier. Rick Perry’s stumbled. Mitt Romney's holding steady.
And Michele Bachmann is hitting bottom. That’s according to a Fox News pollreleased Wednesday.
The new poll found Cain’s support has nearly tripled among GOP primary voters to 17 percent.
That’s up from 6 percent before this month’s debates, and puts him in what is essentially a three-way tie with Perry and Romney.
Cain has benefited not only from his debate performances, but also significant media attention after winning the Florida Republican Party’s straw poll on Saturday.
Perry now garners 19 percent, a drop of 10 percentage points from a month ago. That puts Romney back in the top spot with the support of 23 percent. Last month Romney was at 22 percent.
Newt Gingrich recovered some ground and now stands at 11 percent. Ron Paul receives the backing of 6 percent now compared to 8 percent before the September debates.
Bachmann registers 3 percent support, down from 8 percent in late August and a high of 15 percent in July.
Presidential candidate Rick Perry on Wednesday apologized for saying that anyone who opposed giving tuition breaks to the children of illegal immigrants “did not have a heart.”
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, the Texas governor said he had made a poor choice of words during the Sept. 22 presidential debate, but he stood by his view that the decision in his state to extend tuition breaks was the right one.
“I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word and it was inappropriate,” Perry admitted. “In Texas in 2001 we had 181 members of the legislature – only four voted against this piece of legislation – because it wasn’t about immigration it was about education.”
Herman Cain said he could not support Rick Perry if he is the Republican nominee for president, citing a “basic fundamental difference of opinion” on border security.
“Today I could not support Rick Perry as the nominee for a host of reasons,” Cain told CNN host Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday.
“Him being soft on securing the border is one of the reasons. I feel very strongly about the need to secure the border for real, the need to enforce the laws that are already there, the need to promote the path to citizenship that’s already there,” Cain said.
Cain, who supported Mitt Romney in 2008, said he could support the former Massachusetts governor again if he committed to repeal Obamacare soon after taking office.