A recent poll released by Rasmussen Reports shows that Americans would choose Herman Cain over Barack Obama by a 43 to 41 percent margin if a general election were held today.

That means that only 16 percent of Americans are tired of waiting for Obama’s laws to take effect or think they should have been different, but aren’t quite ready for a flat tax or a president who begins speeches with “Aw shucky ducky.”

It also means that 43 percent of Americans are downright insane or greedy.

Regular readers of this column will know that every time someone not named Mitt Romney takes the lead in GOP primary polls, I start envisioning the disasters that will follow. Normally, these visions do not involve electrocuted alligators, but then again, they haven’t yet been centered around Herman Cain.

Cain’s odd sense of humor, goal of raising taxes on the middle class and his 9-9-9 plan’s hilarious origin story should be enough to make more than 57 percent of Americans think twice before voting for him. But for some reason, many Republicans see these all as attractive features.

I know a lot of people have pointed out that a flat tax rate would be a disaster that would only benefit the rich, so I won’t go into too much detail on that. But I would like to point out that Cain will make enemies of the half of Americans who don’t make enough to pay federal taxes and will fail to steal any votes away from the even more irresponsible Domino’s Pizza with its 5-5-5 deal.

I’ll restrict my hard-hitting commentary to his use of humor in inappropriate situations, because it’s at least something I’m an expert on.

If Cain becomes president, his sense of humor will quickly become less endearing. The stock market, and possibly foreign relations, could turn on jokes about building a giant electric fence or moat filled with alligators across the entire US-Mexican border.

I just hope – for the sake of our national budget and of the alligators – that Cain does not try to implement both of these ideas at once. I also hope that he realizes a river already stretches across much of the border.

See how easy it is to make Cain look stupid when he makes ignorant jokes?

I also suspect that jokes about the ailing economy will become a little less effective once people start to blame Cain for all of the problems he failed to instantly fix.

And does anyone else find it horrifying that Cain would reduce the United States’ revenue by $51 billion just so his 9-9-9 plan wasn’t a much less soundbite-worthy 9.1-9.1-9.1 plan?

What the Republicans say or do may not matter. If Obama’s stock continues to fall, any Republican candidate from Huntsman to Bachmann would cruise through in the general election.

Okay, maybe not Bachmann. But the vast majority of Republicans, and quite a few independents, will cast an anti-Obama vote in 2012, regardless of who it’s for.

Liberals, aside from Occupy protestors, who for some reason I don’t see voting for a heavily corporate-financed Democrat such as Obama, have been exhausted by years of Republican stall tactics and compromise. They may not turn up in the same numbers they did in 2008. The Republicans would have to suggest something awfully extreme to throw away this election.

Something like – and I’m just throwing this out there – raising taxes on most Americans and using that money to build a giant moat full of electrocuted alligators.