University of New Hampshire Political Science Professor Dante Scala looks at the numbers and thinks “it’s unrealistic that Herman Cain’s up 20 points over Mitt Romney nationally.”

But there’s something going on with Herman Cain. The latest UNH poll of likely republican New Hampshire primary voters still gives Mitt Romney a significant advantage, but puts Cain in a sudden second place. A parallel poll includes Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani but doesn’t change the rankings. Cain appears to be conservatives’ current alternative to Romney.

“But,” says Scala, “they haven’t settled on any one they like in particular. Rick Perry was the latest but once again people try on the Perry suit, they say, ‘no we’re not quite sure about him yet either, let’s try on Herman Cain.’”