Cain holds lead in S.C. poll as third harassment allegation emerges

Despite days of intense coverage about allegations of sexual harassment, presidential hopeful Herman Cain is still the top pick of likely S.C. Republican primary voters, leading former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 10 percentage points.

A new Rasmussen poll conducted Tuesday -- two days after unsubstantiated allegations surfaced that Cain had harassed sexually two women -- shows the Georgia businessman continues to be the preferred candidate of 33 percent of likely S.C. Republican primary voters.

And that lead shows no signs of slipping -- at least not yet.

A third allegation of sexual harassment was reported by the Associated Press Wednesday, after the poll was completed.

“He’s holding strong,” said Karen Floyd, former chairwoman of the S.C. Republican Party, who now runs a website, Palladianview.com, aimed at conservative women. “These types of allegations can be found so offensive, a candidate can even benefit by the charges.”

Cain overwhelmingly won a straw poll of conservative women organized by Floyd’s website Saturday, before the first allegation surfaced. That support appeared to be holding strong Tuesday, when the website asked its readers to weigh in on the harassment allegations against Cain.

“Ninety-five percent agree that these are allegations and it’s similar patterns of behavior to Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill,” said Floyd referring to sexual harassment charges made by Hill 20 years ago against Thomas, her former boss who then was a nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court.

“There is no empirical evidence to support the allegations (against Cain) so the women find them refutable and/or not true,” said Floyd, who has not endorsed a candidate.

The Rasmussen results echo an NBC/Marist poll from earlier this month that showed Cain leading in South Carolina at 30 percent to Romney’s 26 percent.

Earlier this week, Cain said he was falsely accused of sexual harassment in the 1990s by a female employee while he was president of the National Restaurant Association. He also has described the reports as a smear campaign.

But the story line is not be dead.

Wednesday, a third woman who formerly worked for the Restaurant Association, when Cain was chief executive, said she considered filing a complaint against Cain because of “aggressive and unwanted behavior” that included a “private invitation” to his corporate apartment, according to the Associated Press. The unnamed woman also described instances in which Cain told her that he had told coworkers how attractive she was, according to the article.

Cain’s campaign denied the claims.

To read the complete article, visit www.thestate.com.

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