How’s this for an impressive feat – without even entering the GOP presidential race, Gov. Rick Perry has somehow managed to position himself as one of the Republican frontrunners, according to the latest Rasmussen poll. Mitt Romney is still leading the presidential field at 22 percent in the latest poll of likely Republican voters, but Gov. Rick Perry is already nipping at his heels at 18 percent.
Much of this has to do with the fact that Romney’s support has dropped 11 points since Rasmussen’s post-debate poll in mid-July. Bachmann had come in second in that survey, but now she slightly trails Perry at 16 percent.
Another indication Bachmann’s momentum might be subsiding a bit: Perry also beats her among self-proclaimed Tea Partiers, 28 percent to 22 percent — the one demographic where Bachmann has been expected to maintain an edge.
In fact, while Perry is considered by many to be an “establishment” candidate, his potential entrance in the race appears to pose more of a risk to Bachmann than Romney. Among non-Tea Party Republicans, Romney still surpasses Perry, 29 percent to 13 percent.
The poll also showed Tim Pawlenty’s valiant attempts to keep his head above water have had little impact on Republican voters so far. The self-proclaimed “comeback kid” actually cut his support in half since Rasmussen’s June poll, pulling in a paltry 3 percent. Making matters worse: he’s even polling behind Newt Gingrich’s dead-in-the-water campaign (6 percent) and Herman Cain (9 percent), who probably has more of a chance at winning the presidential nomination in the Islamic Republic of Iran than he does in the Republican Party. At least Pawlenty can take solace in the fact he’s still leading the luckless Jon Huntsman, albeit by just one percentage point.