Tuesday, Oct. 11, will mark the 9th Republican presidential debate, two weeks after a string of debates in Florida, California and South Carolina. Sponsored by Bloomberg News and the Washington Post, this next matchup of Republican rivals will take place at Dartmouth University in New Hampshire. The Sunlight Live team will once again provide a live video feed, as well as real-time analysis, fact checking and context to help keep viewers informed.
The organizers say this debate will specifically address fears about the economy, jobs and a possible double-dip global recession.
Since the last debate, held Sept. 22 in Florida, the polls have shifted, raising questions about who is the frontrunner. A recent Zogby poll put candidate Herman Cain, initially regarded by a longshot as many, in first place and ahead of former Massachusett's Gov. Mitt Romney by 20 percent. Cain's ascent comes as an early standout, Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a favorite among evangelical voters and the Tea Party crowd, has seen her support drop nearly in half. Two weeks ago, a CBS poll among likely Republican primary voters showed her at 7 percent in the polls. That number is now at 4 percent. The drop may have to do with her controversial statement that the HPV vaccine, which is designed to protect against cervical cancer, caused mental retardation. The Center for Disease Control refutes that claims. The comment was made in response to Texas Gov. Rick Perry's defense of his decision as Texas governor to require girls in Texas receive the vaccine. Since 2001, the HPV vaccine's manufacturer, Merck, contributed nearly $30,000 to his gubernatorial campaigns; Perry's former Chief of Staff, Mike Toomey, went to lobby for Merck.
When Perry entered the Presidential race nearly two months ago, many saw him as Romney’s biggest competitor. The two clashed during previous debates, with critics agreeing that Perry's performance was weak. The Texas governor got into the race as an almost instant frontrunner, but has fallen back in the pack, and now faces questions on a range of issues, including an offensively named hunting spot that his father rented in the 1980s.
Two weeks ago the CBS News poll showed Perry beating Romney with 23 percent, but that number now stands at 12 percent. The dip in poll numbers is hardly the end for Perry. He received endorsements from several influential Republicans including Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, co-chair of the so-called super committee on debt reduction. In addition Perry impressively raised over $17 million in campaign contributions in 49 days. Last financial quarter Perry's rival, Romney, raised over $18 million but was only predicted to bring in between $10 million and $13 million for the summer quarter.
A recent poll showed Texas Congressman Ron Paul capturing only 8 percent of the vote, however the proud Libertarian's financial record shows a potentially stronger candidate prepared to stay in the race for the long haul. During the spring financial quarter Paul raised over $4 million. During the summer quarter, which ended September 30, Paul doubled his previous donations and brought in over $8 million.
Joining Paul in the middle of the pack is former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who according to the CBS poll secured seven percent of primary voters. Gingrich's campaign has not sailed smoothly, his performance in previous debates and mass exit of staff proved trying. Gingrich, who participated in the famous "Contract for America" during his tenure as a Congressman recently promoted a revised, "21st Century Contract with America," in Sun City, S.C.
Meanwhile, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, Herman Cain, who had been lagging since he entered the race due to his vague foreign policy stances and inflammatory statements about Islam and immigration, has leapt to the top. He was a surprise winner of the Florida straw poll over Perry, who had just turned in another poor debate performance two days before. Recently, though, he has gotten a boost, with CBS News showing him tied with Romney at 17 percent, and Zogby finding him the clear frontrunner. For a candidate who faced calls from several groups to leave the race after his comments on Islam, its a remarkable turnaround, one that he's relishing. On the campaign trail, Cain multi-tasks not only his run for the Republican nod but also the promotion of his new book, "This is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House."
Former Ambassador to China and former Utah Gov. John Huntsman joins former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum at bottom of the polls. The two candidates received 2 percent and 3 percent respectively in the CBS News poll.
So, join us at 8 p.m. ET at www.sunlightfoundation.com/live as we attempt to detangle the strings between candidate and donor and distortion and fact.