Romney or Cain? Divided GOP Looks to Other Options

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Uncertainty reigns in the Republican presidential picture as the candidates head into another weekend of campaigning.

The GOP establishment appears to be lining up for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, but polls show voters may want other options.

This week, Herman Cain, with his 999 economic plan, shot to the top of the pack.

"Six weeks ago, there were some pundits who were saying that I should just drop out. Well, they don't know Herman Cain," he said.

Cain's rise in the polls came mostly at the expense of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose uneven performances in the debates cost him conservative support.

Now, Team Perry is taking aim at Cain.

"When I hear 999, I want to call 911 because it will raise the taxes," Texas first lady Anita Perry said recently.

The national polls show Romney running neck and neck with Cain. Romney has either led or narrowly trailed one of the other candidates throughout the race.

He was greeted by anti-business protesters when he appeared at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Wash.

"They feel somehow business is bad, that business people are bad. I don't dislike you. I love you. I appreciate what you do. I appreciate the private sector," he told them.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., has been campaigning in Iowa. Her national poll numbers have plummeted since she won the straw poll there in August.

Members of the Iowa caucus will hold the nation's first vote next year. They want to see more of Cain, who hasn't visited the state in nearly two months.

"We are trying hard to get Mr. Cain here in October and hopefully we'll be able to achieve that," said Larry Tuel, Iowa director of the Cain Campaign.

Iowa's evangelical pastors will likely have a big influence in 2012. They pushed Mike Huckabee to victory four years ago, but now are divided between Cain, Perry, Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich.

As long as conservatives are divided among a handful of candidates, Romney will continue to be the Republican favorite to take on President Obama in next year's election.

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John Waage

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John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.