Poll: Romney Maintains Slim Lead Over GOP Field

Poll: Romney Maintains Slim Lead Over GOP Field

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - August 1, 2011

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney continues to lead the Republican presidential race, but Texas Gov. Rick Perry has surged to within striking distance, according to a national poll released Monday.

Romney leads Perry, 22 percent to 18 percent, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey of likely Republican primary voters. Perry hasn't declared his candidacy but is reportedly planning to jump into the race later this month. His entry would present a challenge to Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who has enjoyed a quick rise in the GOP race since she announced her bid in late June. The Rasmussen results put her in third place with 16 percent support.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul comes in behind the top three with 10 percent, businessman Herman Cain has 9 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 6 percent. Former Govs. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Jon Huntsman of Utah round out the bottom of the ballot with 3 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Four percent of those surveyed said they would prefer another candidate and 9 percent are undecided.

A Perry run most notably threatens Bachmann's support from the Tea Party, a constituency she embraced in the 2010 midterm elections and one she will be counting on as she competes for the GOP nod. Perry leads Bachmann among this group -- who make up 39 percent of the sample surveyed -- 28 percent to 22 percent. Romney garners 16 percent support from Tea Partiers, and Cain receives 13 percent. But Romney leads among the 43 percent who don't identify with the movement. He wins 29 percent of that vote, while Perry receives 13 percent, Bachmann 11 percent and Paul 10 percent.

For this poll, Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely Republican and GOP-leaning primary voters on July 28. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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