Rick Perry Leads National GOP Field In Fourth Consecutive Poll

A new CNN/Opinion Research Center poll follows the lead of other recent polling from Rasmussen, Public Policy Polling, and Gallup to put Rick Perry at the top of the GOP field with a rather substantial lead:

A new national survey is further proof that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s entrance earlier this month into the race for the White House has dramatically altered the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.

According to a CNN/ORC International Poll of Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP, Perry now sits atop the list of Republican presidential candidates, with strong support from most demographic groups.

The survey, released Monday, indicates that 27 percent of Republicans nationwide support Perry for their party’s nomination, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s making his second bid for the White House, at 14 percent. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin follows at ten percent, with Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at nine percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who’s making his third bid for the presidency, at six percent. Every one else listed on the questionnaire registered in the low single digits.


Take Palin and Giuliani out of the mix and listing only the announced candidates, and the poll indicates Perry with 32 percent support, followed by Romney at 18 percent, Bachmann at 12 percent, Gingrich at seven percent, Paul at six percent, and everyone else in the low single digits.

Looking at the poll internals (PDF), one finds the same thing that exists in the other poll rests, a massive shift of Tea Party support to Rick Perry:

  • Among self-identified “Tea Party Supporters,” Perry leads with 41%, with Bachmann far behind at 17%, Mitt Romney at 11%, and all other candidates in single digits
  • Among self-identified “Tea Party Neutrals,” Perry leads with 25%, Romney is second with 22%, and all other voters are in single digits
  • Among self-identified conservatives, Perry leads with 41%, Romney is second with 19%, Bachmann is third at 11%, and all other candidates are in single digits
  • Among self-identified moderates, Perry leads with 20% Romney is next at 16%, Bachmann is third at 15%, and all other candidates are in single digits
  • Among self-identified Independents, Perry leads with Romney is second at 15%, Newt Gingrich comes in third at 11%, and all others candidates are in single digits

Rick Perry is now the clear leader in the Republican field. Whether this lasts depends, at least initially, on how the next month goes. Starting next Tuesday, there will be five debates and six events at which all or most of the declared candidates are scheduled to appear. How Perry fares in these forums, which will be the first introduction many Americans will have to him, will likely define the next several months of this race. As it stands now, though, this is Rick Perry’s race. Mitt Romney is running from behind, just as he was in the closing months of 2007 and January 2008. Whether he catches up again depends largely on how the public perceives Perry after being exposed to him, and whether Romney tries to take him on at all.



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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Boyd says:

    My feeling is that Governor Perry’s lead will inevitably diminish before too long, and as you say in your post, Doug, coming events will determine where it goes from there. But the current upward trajectory of his popularity will undoubtedly end soon.

  2. Trumwill says:

    I wish I’d made not of every comment that Rick Perry was likely just the next Fred Thompson.

    (I don’t know if he will win the nomination or not. I’m hoping not. But the differences between these two from the get-go were staggering.)

  3. Neil Hudelson says:

    Two people who haven’t even announced their candidacy–and a good chance they never will–hold 19% of the poll.

    That’s kind of amazing.

  4. mattb says:

    As much as people are waiting for Perry to implode, I think all smart eyes need to be on Romney. Perry’s momentum might slow, but, barring a huge mis-step or scandal, I don’t seem it going in reverse without an outside force acting on it.

    Romney needs to find a way to both regain his own momentum and trip up Perry. And the only way that happens is a direct confrontation. Proxy war isn’t going to work (unless his side has something devastating). You can’t act like the presumptive front-runner when everyone knows your now in second place. The end result is demonstrating that you can’t (or are afraid to) face facts (and that’s deadly, especially with the current conditions on the ground with Republicans and Tea Party Conservatives).

    Romney was “the good soldier” in 2008. In theory this was supposed to be his year. Now we’ll find out if he actually *WANTS* the nomination in a way that matters to the primary voting majority of his party.