Herman Cain absent from Iowa, leads Iowa poll

Herman Cain's latest poll numbers suggest that Cain's absence from Iowa makes the heart grow stronger. Mitt Romney at No. 2 (also seldom visits)

(AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Campaign buttons for Republican Presidential candidate Herman Cain are seen on sale as he campaigned in Talladega, Ala., Friday.

The latest Iowa poll from The Des Moines Register shows Herman Cain leading the GOP field in the Hawkeye State, with 23 percent support. That’s a 13 point jump since the Register’s last poll, taken in June.

Amazingly, Cain’s lead comes despite almost no campaigning in the state: Since the August 13 straw poll (in which he placed fifth), he has been to Iowa just once. (See here for Decoder’s take on whether Herman Cain could actually win this thing.)

Mitt Romney, who has also spent little time in Iowa (just one visit since August), is running a close second in the poll, with 22 percent. There’s a cautionary note for the former Massachusetts governor, however: Among those who say they “definitely” plan to vote in the caucuses, he is at just 10 percent support, compared with Cain’s 27 percent.

The only other candidate even in double digits is Ron Paul, in third place with 12 percent.

Those polling in single digits include Michele Bachmann (8 percent) - who has staked her entire campaign on winning Iowa - and Rick Santorum (5 percent), who, next week, will become the only candidate to have visited all of Iowa’s 99 counties.

Of course, the poll was taken before news broke of alleged sexual harassment cases. Cain's campaign disputed the Politico report that said Cain had been accused of sexually suggestive behavior toward at least two female employees while he was head of the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s..

What gives, Iowa? The more time a candidate spends campaigning in your state, the less you like them?

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