Cain's Southern strategy
's rise in the polls appears to be no fluke.Unlike some other Republican presidential contenders who have flamed out fast after auditioning as the conservative antidote to, Cain is still riding high atop public opinion surveys."They said I was the flavor of the week," the Georgia businessman said at an appearance Friday on a campaign swing through. "But four weeks later the Cain campaign still tastes good!"Cain lacks the money and organization of his top-tier GOP competitors. But, so far, he's survived several high-profile campaign blunders and an onslaught of attacks on his signature 9-9-9 tax overhaul plan.And despite the sudden rise to the top tier of the GOP, Cain is still doing things his own way.He's carving out an unorthodox — and some say impossible — path to the White House, largely eschewing early voting states to focus heavily on the South — where tea party groups, social conservatives and evangelical voters that make up the backbone of his support hold sway. It's been weeks since Cain has set foot in Iowa or New Hampshire. Instead, he's barnstormed through Tennessee and Alabama, states that don't hold primaries until March."The South looks very, very good for us," Mark Block, Cain's campaign manager, said in an interview with The Associated Press. "Do the early states matter? Of course. But they are not everything."Block argues that next year's compressed primary calendar means more states will play larger roles. So instead of tromping around New Hampshire trying to win over skeptics, the campaign team is revving up support in states where Cain's small government, anti-tax message and church revival-style delivery resonate with voters.
...Showing Southern states they matter is an appealing approach, but history shows it is a problem when you ignore the early states. By campaigning there now, he maybe able to hold onto their affections when it is time to vote.