Texas Governor Rick Perry has vaulted into the lead among Republicans vying for the nomination to oppose President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election bid, according to several new polls. And he may have the Tea Party to thank for it.
A CNN/ORC International poll released Monday showed Perry strongly favored by Republicans and independent voters who lean Republican. Among the declared candidates, Perry has 32 percent support, followed by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 18 percent, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 12 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at 7 percent, Texas Congressman Ron Paul at 6 percent and the rest of the field in the low single digits.
This could reflect shifting allegiances among Tea Party supporters, according to Gallup, which released its own poll last week also showing that Perry had replaced Romney as the early front-runner.
Gallup said Perry leads by 21 percentage points over Romney and Bachmann, his closest contenders, although Perry and Romney are essentially tied among survey respondents who do not support the Tea Party.
“Perry has immediately become the preferred Republican nomination candidate of Tea Party movement supporters and, by extension, those who view government spending and power as the most important issue. He also demonstrates strong appeal to moral values voters, and is competitive with Romney among Republicans rating business and the economy as the most important issue,” Gallup said.