The dynamics of the race for the Republican presidential nomination have dramatically changed now that Texas Gov. Rick Perry has entered the race. According to a new poll from Rasmussen, Perry has overtaken Mitt Romney as the frontrunner.
- Rick Perry: 29%
- Mitt Romney: 18%
- Michele Bachmann: 13%
- Ron Paul: 9%
- Herman Cain: 6%
- Newt Gingrich: 5%
- Rick Santorum: 1%
- Jon Huntsman: 1%
- Thad McCotter: 0%
Perry’s support, if you hadn’t guessed already, is coming from Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain. That’s not surprising given that they are essentially going after the same conservative/tea party base. Romney’s numbers have, as Philip Klein notes, fallen off substantially in the last couple of months:
The former Massachusetts governor was at 33 percent in the poll in mid-June, and has thus lost 15 points since then. The quick embrace of Perry suggests Republican primary voters don’t want Romney to be their nominee if they can help it.
Keep in mind that this is one poll, though it may be a sign of things to come since Romney has been viewed by observers as somewhat of a strawman. But Perry could fall off quickly as comparisons to George W. Bush are made, though the attraction to him is not hard to understand. However, Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics believes that Romney will outlast Perry if the fight for the nomination drags out.
But this could swing again if Paul Ryan decides to jump in the race. In case you haven’t heard, Ryan is rumored to be considering a presidential bid; though he denies it. James Pethokoukis offers reasons why Ryan running would make sense. James Antle, on the other hand, wants Ryan to stay in the House and serve as a credible voice on policy.
If you look at the numbers, a path to victory for Romney is difficult to see. However, these things are a marathon. Nothing is certain at this point, but it should make for a fun ride.