So far, the Romney campaign has been fairly cavalier about Rick Perry’s high poll numbers, pointing out that this race has had a rotating cast of frontrunners. But one factor that’s worth noting is how high Perry’s polling is. He’s at 38 percent in the WSJ/NBC poll out today and at 36 percent in the Politico/GWU poll. Those numbers are higher than any numbers Mitt Romney has amassed in 2011.
According to the RealClearPolitics poll archives, the best Romney has done in a national poll among Republicans or Republican-leaning independents is 33 percent. He achieved that in both a June Rasmussen poll and an April poll by Democratic firm Public Policy Polling. In this year’s polls, those are the only times Romney has ever polled better than 30 percent.
The polling data also indicates that Perry shouldn’t be viewed as being in the same strata as Huckabee or Trump. A cursory look at the polls from this spring in April and May, when Trump fever was at its pitch, shows that the highest Trump polled was 26 percent in a PPP poll. The Gallup polls show that Huckabee’s highest support level this year was at 27 percent.
Trump and Huckabee both did well, as has Romney at certain points. Perry, too, of course, entered at a different time in the race, when his competitors had already been subject to more criticism and background research. But his ability to not just lead the pack, but also to command polling support in the high 30’s shouldn’t be overlooked.