Rick Perry Bumps Mitt Romney for Top GOP Spot
Texan governor continues run as Republican frontrunner
According to a new poll, just three weeks after announcing his presidential candidacy, Texas Governor Rick Perry has moved ahead of original frontrunner Mitt Romney as the candidate Republican voters feel have the best shot at beating incumbent President Barack Obama.
With this new finding, the Republican debate scheduled for tonight -- Perry's first debate appearance -- in California will probably be the most intense one so far.
The Washington Post points out:
Perry is enough of an untested national campaigner — and debater — that it may take weeks to determine his staying power as a candidate. But the new poll findings foreshadow a potentially fierce competition between the two top Republicans, a contest likely to highlight ideological and demographic divisions within the party.
Among all Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, Perry has edged ahead with 27 percent of the vote, followed by Romney with 22 percent, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin at 14 percent, Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) with 8 percent and Bachmann at 6 percent.
Perry’s emergence has cut sharply into Bachmann’s support, putting her candidacy at risk. Her number of backers has been sliced in half, and she now scores significantly worse among those who backed her heading into last month’s big win at the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa.
The survey asked people questions like who “best understands the problems of people like you" and who is "closest to you on the issues.” Perry came out the leader in both with Romney coming in second. A Washington Post poll also says that Romney has a better chance of winning against Obama if the election were held today. Blogger Ezra Klein wrote that the excitement that Republicans have invested in Perry over Romney suggests that while Romney is ready for primetime, the GOP is not.