Texas Gov. Rick Perry has moved to the top of the CNN/ORC poll released Monday, again nudging former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney away from the position of favored candidate in the GOP presidential sweepstakes.
Perry, who only formally entered the race this month, easily surpassed Romney, earning 27% support among Republicans, while Romney, the former front-runner, get 14%. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gets 10% while former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani comes in at 9%. Neither Palin nor Giuliani has announced a run, though both have done little to discourage media speculation.
Without those two in the mix, Perry increases his standing to 32% while Romney weighs in at 18%. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. The poll is based on 467 Republicans interviewed by telephone Aug. 24 and 25, part of a larger sample of 1,017 adults.
The CNN finding is consistent with other polls showing Perry surging while Romney, who has been at the top of most polls for months, has been fading. Romney’s downturn is a reflection, in part, of the strong opposition to his candidacy from some conservative elements who have been searching for a political "ABM" —: Anybody But Mitt. Many conservatives object to Romney’s support of the healthcare overhaul in Massachusetts.
The findings also show strong backing for Perry — 37% — among Republicans who consider themselves to be supporters of the “tea party” movement. But Perry also edges Romney, 18% to 16%, among Republicans who say they are neutral on the tea party, whose tight fiscal and spending policies have dominated the GOP’s discourse. The margin of error is plus or minus 6.5 percentage points and 7 points respectively.
Perry also does better than Romney in voter subcategories. Among men, Perry leads 32% to 14%, and he does better among women, 23% to 15%. He also is preferred by older voters, by those who earn at least at $50,000 a year, and by those who attended college. Perry leads Romney by a ratio of better than 2-to-1 among those who have no college.
Perry’s success in the last month comes at the expense of the rest of the field, but the Texas governor seems to be consolidating conservatives. For example, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota saw her backing ease from 12% in July to 9% in the current survey. Texas Rep. Ron Paul, whose support had grown from 8% to 12% between July and early this month, saw his backing drop to 6% in the latest survey.
The poll also found that among Democrats and those who said they lean to that party President Obama continues to be strong. About 72% said they want Obama to be renominated, with 27% seeking someone else. That is about the same as at the beginning of August.