Perry Leads Republican Field in National Poll

Perry Leads Republican Field in National Poll

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - August 16, 2011

Rick Perry leads his Republican rivals by double digits in the first national survey taken since the Texas governor joined the race and Michele Bachmann won the Ames Straw Poll over the weekend.

According to a Rasmussen Reports poll released Tuesday afternoon, Perry, who launched his campaign Saturday in South Carolina, attracts the support of 29 percent of likely Republican primary voters. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sits in second place with 18 percent. Bachmann garners 13 percent support.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who placed second in Ames, receives 9 percent support. Businessman Herman Cain trails him with 6 percent support, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 5 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum and ex-Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman round out the field with 1 percent.

A day after finishing a distant third in the Ames Straw Poll, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty withdrew from the race.

The survey indicates Perry has surged since making his candidacy official. A Rasmussen poll released two weeks ago showed Romney edging Perry, 22 percent to 18 percent. Bachmann had 16 percent support in that poll.

Perry holds a strong 39 percent to 21 percent lead over Bachmann among voters who identify with the Tea Party, an influential constituency for which the two candidates will compete. Perry holds a 27 percent to 24 percent lead over Romney among voters who do not consider themselves members of the Tea Party. The same survey two weeks ago, however, put Romney ahead of Perry among this group by double digits.

The Texas governor wins the plurality of conservative support, topping Romney, 33 percent to 16 percent. Bachmann attracts 14 percent support from this group. Perry also appears competitive among moderates, a group Romney typically claims in national polls. The former Massachusetts governor edges Perry, 27 percent to 25 percent, among this group. 

For this poll, Rasmussen surveyed 1,000 likely Republican and GOP-leaning primary voters on Aug. 15. 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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