The PJ Tatler

PPP: The GOP's New Frontrunner in Iowa is...Rick Perry

He didn’t participate in the Ames Straw Poll, and announced in South Carolina while all the other candidates were serving pizza slices at the Iowa state fair, but according to PPP it’s Rick Perry who is out to a slim lead in the Hawkeye State.

The race is pretty close four ways in Iowa but Rick Perry is the new favorite among Republican voters in the state. Among announced candidates he’s at 22% to 19% for Mitt Romney, 18% for Michele Bachmann, and 16% for Ron Paul. Further back are Herman Cain at 7%, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum at 5%, and Jon Huntsman at 3%.

If you throw Sarah Palin into the mix the numbers are pretty similar with Perry at 21%, Romney at 18%, Bachmann at 15%, Paul at 12%, and Palin registering at only 10%.

Hm. PPP is the same outfit that had Obama leading Perry, in Texas, just a couple of months ago. I wonder if they would care to update that poll. In the Iowa poll, PPP says Perry is benefiting from a surge among Tea Party and conservative voters, and the corollary is that Bachmann isn’t benefiting from her straw poll win at all. It would be nice to finally stick a fork in these straw polls once and for all. So far, the two big straw poll winners of the year have been Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul (at CPAC). Show of hands — how many here really think either will end up with the nomination?

Besides the Tea Party support, what else might explain Perry’s leap to the top in a left-leaning polling outfit’s findings? Rick Perry is a relentless campaigner, and is also an extremely effective retail politician. There have been stories eeking out of Iowa over the past several days about Bachmann campaigning as a bit of a diva, walking into rooms with theme music blaring, and not spending much time one-on-one with voters. Her most identifiable message — “Barack Obama will be a one term president!” — has always struck me as a little bit flat. I hope it’s true, but saying he’ll be a one-termer isn’t really saying what you will do to make him one. Perry, on the other hand, is out with a simple and clear message about how he has governed in Texas and how Obama has failed as president nationally. His theme — “Get America Working Again” — takes Romney’s effective “Obama Isn’t Working Theme” and builds on that with a positive: Obama isn’t working, but I (Perry) will, and the result will be that the America that Obama has helped break will start working again too. Rick Perry has shown how a candidate can sweep into a race late and turn it on its head within a week: Fierce campaigning, clear and effective messaging, and a record to back it up. And the more the MSM tries to tear down the Perry record in Texas, the more time they spend actually talking about that record. Which ends up benefiting Rick Perry.

PPP also says they have a poll due out tomorrow that shows Perry with a double digit lead nationally in the GOP primary.