Governor Perry is leading the other Republican presidential contenders, including among tea partiers and anti-tea partiers. Romney leads him among moderates by only two points.
Rick Perry leads his Republican rivals by double digits in the first national survey taken since the Texas governor joined the race and Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll over the weekend.
According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday afternoon, Perry, who launched his campaign Saturday in South Carolina, attracts the support of 29 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sits in second place with 18 percent. Bachmann garners 13 percent support.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who placed second in Ames, receives 9 percent support. Businessman Herman Cain trails him with 6 percent support, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 5 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum and ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman round out the field with 1 percent. . . .
Perry holds a strong 39 percent to 21 percent lead over Bachmann among voters who identify with the Tea Party, an influential constituency for which the two candidates will compete. Perry holds a 27 percent to 24 percent lead over Romney among voters who do not consider themselves members of the Tea Party. The same survey two weeks ago, however, put Romney ahead of Perry among this group by double digits.
The Texas governor wins the plurality of conservative support, topping Romney, 33 percent to 16 percent. Bachmann attracts 14 percent support from this group. Perry also appears competitive among moderates, a group Romney typically claims in national polls. The former Massachusetts governor edges Perry, 27 percent to 25 percent, among this group.
This sounds like a rush to positive judgment, as if Republicans are so eager for an alternative to the prior slate that they are jumping on the Perry bandwagon. I haven’t even heard him speak yet, and I suspect the same can be said of lots of his other supporters. He is making gaffes, but the key is whether he will be a teflon candidate, on which nothing sticks, or a velcro candidate, on which everything sticks. Surely, though, Republicans need time to take his measure.