Romney Leads, But Perry Surges in National Polls

Romney Leads, But Perry Surges in National Polls

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - August 11, 2011

Two new national polls show Rick Perry surging behind Mitt Romney as the Texas governor readies to enter the Republican presidential fray.

According to a CNN/ORC International survey, the former Massachusetts governor leads Perry, 17 percent to 15 percent, among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, within the poll's margin of error. Each picked up a point since the last CNN poll was released in July. Romney wins the plurality of independents with 16 percent support. Perry attracted 7 percent of independents while garnering 19 percent support from conservatives. Romney earned 17 percent support from conservatives.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin tied for third in the CNN poll with 12 percent support. Paul picked up four percentage points since July, while Giuliani and Palin each dropped one. Neither Giuliani nor Palin has declared their presidential intentions, though Palin is planning to take her "One Nation" bus tour to Iowa in the coming days, where most of the official candidates have flocked to attend a televised debate Thursday and the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday.

Perry is expected to signal his presidential intentions in a speech to conservatives in the early voting state of South Carolina on Saturday, on the same day his likely future rivals are competing at the straw poll. Perry's name will not appear on that ballot, though he is expected to visit Iowa soon after.

Michele Bachmann, a congresswoman from Minnesota who is expected to fare well in Iowa this weekend, dropped a bit in this survey. She is down to 7 percent support in August from 12 percent in July. None of the remaining candidates garnered more than 5 percent support. Bachmann gains only two points if Palin and Giuliani don't run. Perry picks up three points, and Romney gains 6 points.

Notably, Giuliani, who ran for president four years ago, is the only candidate to top President Obama in a head-to-head matchup. The former major leads Obama, 51 percent to 45 percent. Obama leads Romney, 49 percent to 48 percent. Perry trails Obama by five points, Bachmann is behind by six points, and Palin is a distant 14 points behind the president.

A Fox News poll released Thursday also shows Romney and Perry at the top of the ballot, though Romney leads by a greater margin, 21 percent to 13 percent, among likely Republican voters. Palin round out the top three with 8 percent, but Bachmann and Giuliani are close behind, each attracting 7 percent support. Bachmann lost three points since July while Romney picked up four points. Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tie with 6 percent support. None of the remaining candidates earn more than 5 percent backing from voters. But without Perry, Palin and Giuliani in the race, Romney leads with Bachmann a distant second, 26 percent to 13 percent.

The Fox News poll also had some bad news for Obama. A majority (51 percent) of registered voters say they wouldn't vote to re-elect him while 44 percent say they would. The president’s approval rating continue to sink as well, with 42 percent approving of his job performance and 48 percent disapproving. Obama’s approval dropped three points since July, and his disapproval ticked up two points.

ORC International surveyed 1,008 adults from Aug. 5-7 for CNN. The poll holds a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. The sample includes 930 registered voters and 449 Republicans. The margin of error for the sample of registered voters is plus or minus 3 percentage points while the margin of error for the sample of Republicans is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

The Fox News poll was conducted jointly by Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from Aug. 7-9 among 904 registered voters. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. The margin of error for the 320 Republicans surveyed is plus or minus 5.5 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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