Texas Gov. Rick Perry is emerging as the undisputed front runner in the Republican race just week after throwing his Stetson hat into the race. The polling trend, which for months favored heretofore front runner Mitt Romney, now makes the race Perry’s to lose.
According to a new CNN/ORC poll published on Monday, Perry leads by 27% among Republicans ahead of Romney’s 14%.
This CNN/ORC poll echoes recent surveys. According to a Rasmussen Reports survey published last week, Perry polls at 29% among likely GOP primary voters besting Romney’s 18% and Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 13%.
And a Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey has Perry up 21 points in the polls since entering the race. Perry now leads the GOP field at 33% followed by heretofore front runner Romney at 20%,
Many conservatives are clearly animated by the prospect of Rick Perry being the nominee. Unlike Romney, Perry has long boasted solid conservative credentials: pro-life, anti-gay marriage, anti-gun control and pretty much everything a conservative checklist could ask for. And as the Wall Street Journal recently put it, “emboldening GOP voters who say 2012 is the year a rock-ribbed conservative can win the White House.”
As governor of Massachusetts, Romney’s stated policy on abortion was pro-choice, he supported gay rights and his chief legislative accomplishment was a state health care law mandating individual insurance, which is seen by conservatives as an unwelcome precedent to President Obama’s own health care reform act. Romney led the polls for months, but many Republicans remained unenthusiastic and resigned themselves for lack of a better and more electable candidate. And his shirt on abortion, gay rights and his defense of the health care law as a states’ rights matter have not been met with much applause either. They now think they found that candidate in Perry.
Whether Perry is better is a matter of judgment, of course, but whether he’s more electable may be tested out in polls. According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, Romney and Obama tie at 47%, but Obama leads Perry 45% to 42%. In what many expect to be a close election, a margin makes all the difference.
The Obama campaign may also find more to attack in Perry, reminding the nation of another not-too-long-ago son of Texas who also boasted a shot-from-the-hip persona and claimed to know how to create jobs. Another Texas governor, considering the approval rating the last one left office with, may be too soon for many Americans.