Perry Maintains Lead Over Romney, But Romney Slightly Stronger Against Obama
Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in a new USA Today/Gallup poll of the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Romney runs slightly stronger against President Obama in a general election matchup, though each matchup is within the margin of error.
The poll, released by Gallup early Tuesday, shows the GOP race is down to a two-man contest. Perry earns 31 percent of the vote among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, versus 24 percent for Romney. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is the only other candidate in double-digits, at 13 percent. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and businessman Herman Cain are well back, tied at five percent.
Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., has two percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman brings up the rear with one percent. Four percent chose another candidate, and ten percent are undecided.
When their choices are narrowed down to just the top two candidates, 49 percent of Republican respondents choose Perry, while 39 percent select Romney.
But in general election matchups among registered voters, Romney edges Obama, 49 percent to 47 percent, while Obama leads Perry, 50 percent to 45 percent. Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say by a slight margin that they prefer a candidate who has the best chance of beating Obama in 2012, even if that that candidate does not agree with them on almost all of the issues about which they care -- though it remains to be seen if Romney comes to be viewed as the more electable candidate by Republican voters. A CNN/ORC International poll released last week showed that Republicans currently think Perry has the better chance to beat Obama, though that poll also showed Romney running stronger among all voters.