Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the newest entrant in the 2012 Republican presidential race, has a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann, according to a new poll from Rasmussen Reports. According to the telephone survey, Perry has the support of 29% of likely Republican primary voters. Romney, who has heretofore been viewed as the frontrunner, earned 18%, while Bachmann picked up 13%.
Perhaps more significantly, Perry captured 39% of the vote among members of the Tea Party, with Bachmann coming in a distant second with 21% support. The numbers indicate that Perry is already starting to chip away at Bachmann’s social conservative base — Tea Party support split almost evenly between Bachmann and in a Rasmussen poll conducted just two weeks ago.
The numbers are a major boost for Perry’s nascent presidential campaign, which officially kicked off just four days ago.
“Governor Perry is enjoying a bounce from entering the race at precisely the right time,” Scott Rasmussen said in a statement. “Now the difficult part begins for the new frontrunner. It’s much easier winning support when people are hoping you will get in the race, than retaining support when you are the frontrunner.”
Here’s how the rest of the field shakes out:
- Ron Paul: 9% support among likely Republican primary voters.
- Herman Cain: 6% support.
- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich: 5% support.
- Rick Santorum: 1% support.
- Jon Huntsman: 1% support.
- Thaddeus McCotter came in statistically at zero.