Accusations that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, 65, sexually harassed women in the 1990s have damaged his bid for the White House, according to the results of a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
The poll showed the percentage of Republicans who view Cain favorably dropped 9 percentage points, to 57 percent from 66 percent a week ago. Among all registered voters, Cain's favorability fell 5 percentage points, to 32 percent from 37 percent, Reuters reported.
The results indicate the claims of sexual harassment dating to Cain's tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association that were reported by the Politico Web site last week have badly affected his presidential campaign.
How badly? Well, 53 percent of all poll respondents believe the allegations are accurate, despite Cain's denials. Moreover, 39 percent of Republican respondents also think them to be true.
The most striking thing is that Herman Cain is actually seeing a fairly substantial decline in favorability ratings toward him particularly among Republicans, said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson.
At least three women have accused Cain of sexual harassment from his time as the restaurant industry's top lobbyist, according to Reuters. Cain insists the claims were baseless and that he was wrongfully accused.
But a woman who received a cash settlement from the restaurant association in response to her harassment claim rejected Cain's denials on Friday. She said through her lawyer that she was the victim of a series of inappropriate behaviors and unwanted advances by Cain in 1999, Reuters reported.
Concerning the allegations of sexual harassment, other results of the survey are as follow:
-- Eighty percent of respondents were aware of the allegations.
-- Republicans were most aware of them (88 percent).
-- Independents were least aware of them (64 percent).
-- Four in 10 respondents said the controversy made them less favorably inclined toward Cain.
-- About one in three Republicans (35 percent) said it made them less favorably inclined toward Cain.
The poll results also showed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is looked upon favorably by 63 percent of Republican voters, while Texas Gov. Rick Perry is viewed favorably by 47 percent of them.
In conducting the poll, Ipsos interviewed 1,007 adults on a U.S. online household panel Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, Cain on Saturday refused to answer questions about the sexual-harassment allegations. The Associated Press quoted him as blaming journalists for having troubled his campaign. In fact, when asked what surprised him about running for president, Cain replied, The nitpickiness of the media.
It is the actions and behavior of the media that have been the biggest surprise, Cain said. There are too many people in the media who are downright dishonest. ... They do a disservice to the American people.