Handicapping the Post-Cain GOP Field

One down, seven to go. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)Photo: MANDEL NGAN/2011 AFP

So who's going to mop up all those loose Herman Cain supporters? Though Cain had recently fallen into single digits in early voting states — and close to zero in New Hampshire — that still leaves a good 8 or 9 percentage points up for grabs in Iowa. The latest NBC/Marist poll guesstimated that three points would go to Ron Paul, two to Gingrich, and one to both Romney and Texas governor Rick Perry, pushing him back into the top four and the double digits for the first time since his epic flame-out. A Des Moines Register poll released last night, however, has Minnesota representative Michele Bachmann in fourth, and she has said her campaign offices are receiving "call after call after call" from Cain supporters looking to join the cause. But since both polls were conducted prior to Cain's exit, the true divvying up will not be clear for at least a couple of days. Look for Ron Paul to solidify himself in second place over Romney (currently only the Register has him there), or for Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann to consolidate and definitively move into the top four and back into the game.