Perry Widens Lead, Bachmann Plummets, In New Republican Poll

Rick Perry's month in the GOP race for the White House has sent Michele Bachmann's poll numbers into the basement.

The new CNN/ORC poll continues to show Rick Perry maintaining a strong lead over his Republican rivals, but the biggest news may be what could be the end of Michele Bachmann’s time in the spotlight:

Hours before the start of the first-ever CNN/Tea Party Republican debate, a new national survey indicates that Texas Gov. Rick Perry is maintaining his lead in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.

And according to a CNN/ORC International Poll, what appears to be Perry’s greatest strength – the perception among Republicans that he is the candidate with the best chance to beat President Barack Obama in 2012 – seems to be exactly what the GOP rank and file are looking for.

The survey, released Monday morning, indicates that 30 percent of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP support Perry for their party’s nomination, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 18 percent. Romney, who’s making his second bid for the White House, had been leading the list of Republican candidates in the national polls, but since Perry launched his campaign a month ago he’s jumped ahead of Romney to capture the top spot.

(…)

According to the survey, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is at 15 percent. The 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee has flirted with a presidential bid, but hasn’t taken any concrete steps to launch a campaign.

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who’s making his third run for the White House, is at 12 percent. Every other candidate is in single digits.

Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was at 10 percent in the last CNN poll, now stands at four percent.

With Palin out of the running, the headline stays the same: Perry 32 percent, Romney 21 percent, Paul 13 percent and all other candidates, including Bachmann, in single digits.

“Perry doesn’t simply have the most support in a hypothetical ballot – he also tops the list of GOP candidates on every personal quality tested,” adds Holland.

Thirty-six percent, for example, see him as the strongest leader in the field, with Romney second at 21 percent. According to the poll, 35 percent say Perry is the Republican candidate most likely to get the economy moving again, with Romney in second at 26 percent.

ProfileNearly three in ten say that Perry is the candidate who is most likely to fight for his beliefs, with Palin in second place at 23 percent and, significantly, Romney in a distant tie for fourth at just 11 percent.

Check out the poll internals (PDF)

As Steven Taylor points out, the biggest factor in Perry’s favor at the moment appears to be the perception among Republicans that he is the candidate best able to beat President Obama. Only Mitt Romney comes close to Perry in that area. With the debate coming up tonight though, and yesterday’s reports that Michele Bachmann is preparing to hit Perry on Social Security tonight, the biggest news may be the decline of Michele Bachmman. She now trails Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich in the polls, and is falling into Huntsman/Santorum status. The main reason for that appears to be Bachmann’s total collapse in support from people who identify themselves as Tea Party Supporters. Among that group, Perry gets 40% support, Mitt Romney gets 19%, Ron Paul gets 10%, and Bachmann comes in fourth at 8%. Without that key group behind her, Bachmann’s campaign is essentially over.

Michele Bachmann was never going to win the Republican nomination, of course. As long as she was the Tea Party darling in the race, though, she was able to make herself a top tier candidate right along side Mitt Romney. Had it stayed that way and Perry not entered the race, then Romney would likely have benefited greatly from the contrast between him and Bachmann. With Perry in the race, though, there’s no reason for anyone other than the most adamant, politically naive, Tea Party supporter to back her over Bachmann, or anyone else in the race for that matter.

We’re likely to see some fireworks tonight, and Rick Perry has yet to be fully vetted, but this has essentially narrowed down to a Romney v. Perry race and there doesn’t seem to be any real prospect of that changing

Photo via Politico

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. john personna says:

    As Steven Taylor points out, the biggest factor in Perry’s favor at the moment appears to be the perception among Republicans that he is the candidate best able to beat President Obama.

    Heh. They don’t seem to be asking their moderate or independent friends.

    This seams to be a classic “my guy will win, because everyone is like me” moment.

  2. @john personna:

    Sort of like Democrats who say “that other guy will lose because everyone thinks he’s crazy like I do”

  3. john personna says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    You’d have to ask one. I can only give you my opinion as a Republican 😉

  4. john personna says:

    (Seriously, my complaint as a moderate is that after the primary cycle everyone pretends to be a moderate. That makes it hard to pick the truest one.)

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I would like to say that Doug, unfortunately I think he just might win because in the land of the crazy the sane…. aren’t.

  6. john personna says:

    “seams?” and here I thought I was awake.

  7. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    Romney’s major problems at this stage are the schedule and demographics. From Romney’s standpoint too many evangelical Protestant states are going to vote before the Mountain, Rust Belt and Northeastern states. Ergo barring a bimbo eruption or other similar type of scandal, and barring a Muskie-type moment, it looks as though Perry will be the nominee.

  8. Ben Wolf says:

    As others have pointed out, Perry’s language to this point has been more appropriate to someome running for presidency of the Confederacy, not the United States. That he can be considered a good choice for nomination by so many is suggestive of the vast sickness affecting the Republican Party, but I suppose all the stops have to be pulled out when an uppity Negro sits in the White House without asking his tall white southern massa’ what to do next.

    Conservatives always unite when given an appropriate object for their hate so we’ll no doubt hear the Pat Robertson’s saying Perry is a good son of Jesus, the David Broder’s talking about how he’ll appoint a wise council of elites to rule our lives for us, and the Reason 100% fake-libertarian/leather jacket/ain’t-I-cool-crowd praising him for being anti-statist as he trashes more of the Constitution while freeing up our billionaire masters to steal every last scrap of labor they haven’t yet mooched.

    Good Times.

  9. Hey Norm says:

    “…that other guy will lose because everyone thinks he’s crazy like I do…”

    Or he may actually be crazy. Claiming the earth is 6000 years old and dinosaurs walked side by side with humans would certainly qualify as crazy if a homeless guy in Times Square was saying it. For some reason the rules are different for GOP candidates. But it’s proof enough in my book.
    Appealing to an omnipotent, infinitely old, and infinitely powerful being whose existence cannot be proven to stop raging forest fires while slashing funding for actual fire-fighting equipment doesn’t rank very high on the sane-meter either.
    But alas – there is your false-equivilancy/pox-on-both-houses fetish.

  10. Dave Schuler says:

    Something that needs to be emphasized is that as the contest narrows, Perry is likely to be the beneficiary. Who are Bachmann, Paul, Palin supporters likely to turn to? Mostly not Romney, I’d say. The only candidate whose withdrawal would benefit Romney is Huntsman and his support is tiny. My point here is that Perry’s support among Republican primary voters will be more likely to grow over time than shrink.

    I can imagine voting for Romney. I can’t imagine myself voting for Perry and I think that a lot of centrists and independents probably see things that way.

  11. Polaris says:

    If it’s a contest in the GOP primary between Romney and Perry, Romney loses. Romney has burnt too many bridges (either by going back on positions or by appearing to) with the Fi-Con and So-Con wings of the GOP (read Tea Party) for him to be trusted, and there is a growing perception that Obama is vulnerable. Basically that means that Perry benefits as the other GOP candidates drop out.

    Romney desperately needs Palin to declare or this race may be over before it really begins.

    -Polaris

  12. Fiona says:

    I’ve never thought that Romney would win the Republican nomination–he’s much too effete for the red meat Republican crowd, and his Mormonism doesn’t play with its evangelical base. Add in the feeling that there’s just something shifty about the guy and it doesn’t add up to a winning game. He’d probably have better luck running as a moderate Democrat.

    That Perry sucked all the air out of Bachman’s campaign is no big surprise either. She might do for the Tea Party in a crunch, but she lacks Perry’s cojones. Literally. When given a choice between a macho cowboy wannabee and a woman playing tough, it’s no surprise who wins out with the thumper crowd. I doubt even La Diva Palin would stand a chance against Perry, although she might be able to take away more of his voters if she deigns to run. I’m still not sure a Perry-Palin-Romney race would result in a Romney win.

  13. ponce says:

    All Romney has to do to win is run commercials with side by side videos of Perry and W. uttering the same campaign fantasies.

    Though it is nice to see Bachmann suffer because she is a terrible human being.

  14. Polaris says:

    ponce,

    Not really. It’s well known that Perry and GWB (and Rove) have disliked each other (bordering on hate) for years and have said so. Publish a few of those and the comparison goes out the airlock.

    Fiona,

    I didn’t say that Romney would win a three cornered Mitt-Perry-Palin race, but it may be his best chance at this point.

    -Polaris

  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The irrelevancy of Sarah Palin.

  16. ponce says:

    It’s well known that Perry and GWB (and Rove) have disliked each other (bordering on hate) for years and have said so.

    Outside the Confederacy, George W. Bush and Rick Perry are considered blood brothers, Pol.

  17. Polaris says:

    @ponce: That will quickly change. In fact by openly taking positions against him, Rove and Cheny have actually done Perry a great favor.

    -Polaris

  18. ponce says:

    That will quickly change. In fact by openly taking positions against him, Rove and Cheny have actually done Perry a great favor.

    I think you’re greatly overestimating the number of Americans who know or care about the internecine poo flinging the Texas Republicans are engaged in, Polaris.

    To the rest of us, Rick Perry is just another dumb, loudmouthed Texan who wants to ruin America.

  19. Fiona says:

    To the rest of us, Rick Perry is just another dumb, loudmouthed Texan who wants to ruin America.

    True, but this works against him how? Especially in the Republican Party as currently constituted.

  20. ponce says:

    True, but this works against him how? Especially in the Republican Party as currently constituted.

    At this point in the last Republican primary fight, Rudy Giuliani had locked up the nomination just like Perry has this time.

    The more the Republicans get to know their fringe right candidates (Palin, Bachmann and now Perry), the less they like them.

  21. Fiona says:

    @ponce:

    Perry is a different animal than Giuliani who, despite his hard-right stand on defense and willingness to invoke 9-11 every other breathe, is an east coast socially moderate Republican in a Southern evangelical party. Perry is one of their own in ways Giuliani (and Romney for that matter) is not. While he says some pretty crazy things, at least to my mind, I’m not sure it puts him at the fringe of his party anymore. Plus, is position as a relatively successful three-term governor (as opposed to a Congress critter or half-term former governor) gives him additional credibility.

    Plus, at this point, who else do the Republicans have? While Romney might seem like the logical choice, I just don’t think party demographics work in his favor.

    I look forward to being wrong as even the possibility of a Perry presidency scares the heck out of me.

  22. ponce says:

    Have some faith in the Republican Party.

    In the end, they’ll select the proper candidate to lose to Obama.

  23. ponce says:

    Here’s a nice start from Andrew Sullivan today:

    http://dailydish.typepad.com/.a/6a00d83451c45669e201543557fc0a970c-popup

  24. Fiona says:

    @ponce:

    Yeah, I saw that graphic. Scary!