The Campaign Spot

Election-driven news and views . . . by Jim Geraghty.

The Perry Bandwagon, Looking a Little Lighter These Days


The new Washington Post–ABC News poll suggests that it’s been a rapid rise, and a rapid slide, for Rick Perry:

After a quick rise in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has experienced an almost equally dramatic decline, losing about half of his support over the past month, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Perry’s slide, which comes after several uneven performances in candidate debates, has allowed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney to resurface atop the GOP field. But the most direct beneficiary of the disenchantment with Perry is businessman Herman Cain, who is now tied for second place. Perry also faces opposition to one of his signature immigration policies in Texas, the survey shows.

Although not fully satisfied with their choices, Republicans are optimistic about their chances of winning the election. More than eight in 10 say the eventual GOP nominee is likely to beat President Obama next year. In the new poll, Obama’s approval remained at a low point in his presidency.

Among announced candidates — without Christie or Palin in the race — Romney leads with 25 percent, which is identical to his support from a month ago. Perry and Cain are tied for second with 16 percent, numbers representing a 13-point drop for Perry and a 12-point rise for Cain since early September.

Theory: There are a certain number of Republican primary voters who just want a winner, and who will gravitate to whichever candidate looks like a “winner” — an admittedly subjective criterion. When Perry was best known as a tough-talking Texan with a terrific record on jobs, this segment of primary voters was eager to jump on the bandwagon. After the debates, the vaccine answers, the “heartless” comment, etc., they’re jumping off the bandwagon and looking elsewhere — and perhaps it’s Herman Cain’s turn to be flavor of the month.

In this survey, at least, there’s limited appetite for a late entry from Chris Christie or Sarah Palin:

Christie is feverishly assessing whether to do so, with a decision expected this week. But the Post-ABC poll finds only modest public support for a Christie candidacy. About 42 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents say they would like to see the New Jersey governor join the race. Thirty-four percent say no, with the rest offering no opinion.

That finding is far more positive than the receptivity to a candidacy by Sarah Palin. Two-thirds of Republicans say they do not want the former Alaska governor to seek the party’s nomination.

Remember when Michele Bachmann was a strong second or third in this race? In today’s survey, she’s at 7 percent.

Tags: Herman Cain , Michele Bachmann , Mitt Romney , Rick Perry


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