John Ellis explains why Mitt Romney may not be much of an obstacle to Rick Perry winning the GOP presidential nomination.
“Romney’s problem is four-fold: he’s politically ‘fungible’ (to put it politely), he’s from the wrong region of the country (New England), he’s of the wrong religion (Mormonism) and he’s too closely identified with Wall Street (Bain Capital). The Republican base would prefer to nominate a strong conservative, evangelical Christian from the Sunbelt who, at the least, shares their disdain for Wall Street’s reckless stewardship of the nation’s financial system.”
“Once Labor Day has passed, there will be five debates, in quick succession, on the GOP presidential candidates’ calendars. These will be important tests for Perry. If at the end of two or three, it’s clear that he’s every bit the equal of Mitt Romney on matters of policy and politics, then the Perry juggernaut becomes all but unstoppable.”
Jonathan Chait seconds:
Perry isn’t a lock, but something has to happen to take him down, or he will win. Political pundits have been dismissing Perry’s lead by claiming that early polls “mean nothing.” But when you examine this view closely, it turns out to mean “early polls meant nothing in the 2007-2008 cycle.” In general, early polls mean a great deal in Republican primaries. They’re not perfect, but they are strong indicators.
Elsewhere, a new Public Policy Polling survey in South Carolina finds Rick Perry with a 20 point lead over the Republican presidential field.
Perry has 36% support, followed by Mitt Romney at 16%, Michele Bachmann at 13%, Herman Cain at 9%, Newt Gingrich at 8%, Ron Paul at 5%, Rick Santorum at 4%, and Jon Huntsman at 2%.
In early June, Mitt Romney led everyone in the field by at least 15 points.