Perry Continues To Lead GOP Field

We're getting close to the point where only two people on this stage will matter.

His lead has slipped somewhat from where it was when the debate season started, which is probably to have been expected, but Rick Perry continues to maintain a strong lead over his rivals for the 2012 GOP nomination:

Among voters who intend to vote in a Republican primary or caucus, Perry leads the pack of candidates nationally with 23 percent, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 16 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann tie for third with 7 percent, followed by Texas Rep. Ron Paul (5 percent) and business executive Herman Cain (5 percent). Former Ambassador and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former Sen. Rick Santorum each receive 1 percent.

However, with months to go before the start of the primaries and caucuses, about one in five Republican primary voters is undecided on a candidate at this point. That is about twice as many compared to four years ago.

About one in ten said they would choose someone else, with three percent volunteering former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has not yet publicly said whether she will even run.

For comparison, at a similar stage in the campaign in 2007, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was the leading choice of Republican primary voters (at 34 percent), followed by former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson (23 percent). The eventual nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, was in third place with 16 percent, according to a CBS News poll. Romney, who is undertaking his second bid for the GOP nomination, received the support of 9 percent in that poll.

It’s always worth keeping that last part in mind, but I think there are significant differences between 2011 and 2007 that make the kind of drastic lead changes we saw in the months leading up to the January 2008 Iowa Caucuses far less likely. For one thing, there are fewer candidates in the field who are realistic frontrunners this time around. It wouldn’t have been much of a stretch to say in September 2007 that John McCain, or Mitt Romney, or even Mike Huckabee (who had just pulled off a strong second place finish in the Ames Straw Poll the previous August) could move further up the field under the right circumstances. The only question would have been if there was a credible path for them to do so. This time around, it seems very unlikely that voters who have now settled on Rick Perry or Mitt Romney are suddenly going to change their mind and support Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich instead. Jon Huntsman is a guy who has the kind of Romney-like resume that would theoretically make him a top tier candidate, but it’s fairly obvious that 2012 just isn’t going to be his year. Barring some kind of damming revelation about either one of them, which seems unlikely, or some misteps that totally dooms their campaign, the odds are that this is a Perry-Romney race all the way to the convention if necessary. Additionally, several of these candidates have already had their moment in the sun, and their poll boost, they’re not going to get a second bite at the apple.

As for the idea of Sarah Palin getting into the race, there’s yet more evidence that it would be nothing less than a huge electoral disaster if she did:

Palin’s negative ratings have been on the rise since she left her job as governor of Alaska in 2009. Sixty-two percent of voters now say they hold an unfavorable view of the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee — the highest since 2008 when CBS News began asking about her. Only 20 percent view her favorably.

For the first time in CBS News polls, more Republicans now view Palin unfavorably (39 percent) than favorably (36 percent). Opinions are similar among Republican primary voters. Just after her convention speech in 2008, three in four Republicans viewed her favorably.

Palin’s favorability among those who support the Tea Party movement has dropped a bit as well to 44 percent, but more still view her positively than negatively (32 percent).

As for Palin’s political future, 71 percent of voters nationwide say they would not like to see her become a major national political figure for many years to come.

That seems like a pretty strong signal to me.

Republican’s views on the issues are about what you’d expect, but there are a few surprises:

  • Republicans – including Tea Party Republicans – voice widespread agreement that Social Security and Medicare programs are worth the costs. It’s a view widely shared by all Americans.
  • The idea of reducing benefits in Social Security doesn’t find much favor among Republicans (only one-third would support that), or among the overall population.

While Republicans do share some of the same concerns about the long-term viability of SSI and Medicare, numbers like these are the reason that Mitt Romney is likely to continue criticizing Rick Perry’s stances on Social Security. It’s a concern not only for voters as a whole, which goes to the issue of electability, but to Republicans as well. Expect this one to come up again at the next debate on September 22nd.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Republicans – including Tea Party Republicans – voice widespread agreement that Social Security and Medicare programs are worth the costs. It’s a view widely shared by all Americans.
    The idea of reducing benefits in Social Security doesn’t find much favor among Republicans (only one-third would support that), or among the overall population.

    So no cuts in Medicare, Social Security and probably Defense. And they want major cuts in government.

    It would just be funny except that Tea Party types get very worked up about this. Very angry as they demand we cut without cutting.

    When you cut through the layers of b.s. the Tea Party is just selfish, scared old farts demanding that their troughs be kept full and to hell with everyone else. This of course is what we’ve had for decades now — Boomers and Greatest Generationals lining up their retirements while refusing to pay the bills.

    I’ve said it before: young people in this country should be hunting us down with baseball bats.

  2. Ron Beasley says:

    More crony capitalism:
    How Perry Pushed Donor’s Nuclear Waste Dump

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry tried to remove a state commissioner who opposed expanding a West Texas nuclear waste dump run by one of his largest political donors
    ……..
    The news is certain to fuel the longstanding political scandal over the dump, which was licensed in 2008 by Perry’s top environmental regulator, Glenn Shankle, over the objections of his staff, three of whom resigned rather than sign off the on the deal (Shankle later left to become a lobbyist for the dump’s parent company, Waste Control Solutions). WCS is owned by Harold Simmons, a billionaire corporate raider who has given Perry’s campaigns at least $1.2 million.

  3. Fiona says:

    I still have a hard time seeing Romney pull out the nomination in a party with a hardcore evangelical Protestant base, but perhaps Perry’s willingness to double down on his view of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme and the fallout from enough crony capitalism type scandals will bring him down. The nomination is his to lose. To Romney.

  4. Terrye says:

    I don’t think it is that settled, if it were Perry would be getting more than 23%. Look at those numbers.

    The thing about Perry that bothers me is that he is a chameleon. He dodged a bullet on the social security issue by folding. He just basically rolled over and adopted the view that ponzi scheme or not we are going to have to save social security. All that stuff about the constitution and states opting out just went by the wayside. In the end his position is not that different from any other candidate’s on this issue.

    I think that Perry is definitely favored to win, but at the same time I am surprised that his numbers are not better than they are.

  5. Ben Wolf says:

    @Terrye:

    He just basically rolled over and adopted the view that ponzi scheme or not we are going to have to save social security. All that stuff about the constitution and states opting out just went by the wayside.

    That’s good, because his ideas had no basis in empirical fact.

  6. Polaris says:

    Honestly, it’s been a two person race since Palin decided not to get win (wisely), and Bachman self-destructed. It’s one thing to criticize Perry over the HPV Vaccine. It’s another to go into looney land doing so. Of the remaining candidates, she was the only one that saw that had any chance of being a valid third candidate threat for the nomination. No the GOP will not nominate Ron Paul.

    In a two person race, I have difficulty seeing how Romney wins the nomination with the GOP electorate the way it is.

    -Polaris

  7. ponce says:

    I doubt a neutered Perry will continue to appeal to the side of the Republican party that has made a fetish out of loyalty oaths and purity pledges.

  8. Racehorse says:

    How about Jeb?

  9. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    When you cut through the layers of b.s. the Tea Party is just selfish, scared old farts demanding that their troughs be kept full and to hell with everyone else. This of course is what we’ve had for decades now — Boomers and Greatest Generationals lining up their retirements while refusing to pay the bills.

    I’ve been to one tea party event of about 350 people. In this mix were families with young children, a scattering of adolescent and young adults, middle age, and seniors. For the most part they were well-behaved, many with pithy anti big government signs. Some of the more colorful attendees dressed in colonial garb. But, basically, they were no different than any other protest gathering I’ve seen or been too — whether it was anti-war, anti some proposition or bill. The one major difference, though, from the teas to other rallies, are that the tea party ones seem much more environmentally oriented, cleaning up and carrying away their own trash, instead of strewing it on the ground or dumping it carelessly in over-flowing trash cans.

    As for being selfish or scared — in any group you’re going to have some people contradicting themselves, asking more of others than they do of themselves. However those wanting no changes to SS are probably more aligned with the variable of age than with their political affiliation or bias, Essentially, seniors would, across the board, be more in favor of leaving SS alone, while younger age groups would be more receptive to entitlement reform, as their future benefits seem more in doubt.

    Also, asserting that the “Greatest Generationals” are parasitic, in not paying their way, may come across to some as a hard-edged, gritty writing style But, to me, it’s nothing but a flippant, disrespectful, thoughtless toss of words.

  10. michael reynolds says:

    Also, asserting that the “Greatest Generationals” are parasitic, in not paying their way, may come across to some as a hard-edged, gritty writing style But, to me, it’s nothing but a flippant, disrespectful, thoughtless toss of words.

    We boomers, and those GG’ers, have bankrupted the next generation because we did not want to pay our own way.

    That’s the reality. Call it disrespectful if you want, but the facts don’t change.

  11. jan says:

    @michael reynolds:

    We boomers, and those GG’ers, have bankrupted the next generation because we did not want to pay our own way.

    That’s the reality. Call it disrespectful if you want, but the facts don’t change.

    Facts are a strange claim, as oftentimes they express more of one’s perspective or opinion than reality.

    What has bankrupted the next generation is a cacophony of ill-thought-out policies, based on short-term societal demands.

  12. Kylopod says:

    >Honestly, it’s been a two person race since Palin decided not to get win (wisely), and Bachman self-destructed.

    I don’t think Bachmann ever really self-destructed. She simply found her support gravitate to Perry as soon as he entered the race. But I think Perry’s strength is generic rather than particular to who he is. The Tea Partiers want a candidate they can rally behind, but for the most part this doesn’t translate into loyalty to any individual candidate, which is why each one seems to shine and then fade. First it was Palin, then it was Cain, then it was Bachmann, and now it’s Perry. What Perry has that the others lack is a conventional resume (or at least a better one than the others). That combination may be enough to propel him to the nomination, but I don’t think it’s a passionate embrace.

  13. G.A.Phillips says:

    We boomers, and those GG’ers, have bankrupted the next generation because we did not want to pay our own way.

    More like the liberal of you and a few others stole and spent all the money on dumb $hit! Your getting close Harry:)

  14. An Interested Party says:

    What has bankrupted the next generation is a cacophony of ill-thought-out policies, based on short-term societal demands.

    Indeed…and Osama bin Laden is laughing in his watery grave for manipulating this country into that cacophony of ill-though-out policies…

    More like the liberal of you and a few others stole and spent all the money on dumb $hit!

    Oh yes, like the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan…that was “the liberal of you” who were responsible for all that…