Rick Perry Ahead of Mitt Romney for Republican Nomination

    NEW YORK , N.Y. -September 27, 2011 – The Republicans are continuing their marathon to the finish line that is the first caucus with debates and straw polls. And, as might be expected in such a marathon, the leaders will change as the race moves towards that line. Among Republicans, over one in five (22%) say they would vote for Texas Governor Rick Perry while just under one in five (18%) would vote for former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. The nearest challengers are all under 10% – Ron Paul (7%), Sarah Palin (7%), and Michele Bachmann (7%). The rest of the field falls out as Herman Cain (5%), Newt Gingrich (4%), Jon Huntsman (1%) and Rick Santorum (1%) with over one-quarter of Republicans (28%) still undecided.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,462 adults surveyed online between September 12 and 19, 2011.

    Among Independents, who can vote in some Republican primariesm the lead changes. Mitt Romney claims the top spot (15%), followed by Ron Paul (12%). Rick Perry falls to third place at 11% with all other candidates at 6% or less. But, over two in five Independents (43%) are not at all sure who they would vote for in the Republican primary.

    Among Conservatives, over one-third (35%) are still not at all sure which candidate they would vote for in a primary. One in five, however, would vote for Rick Perry (21%) while 14% would vote for Mitt Romney. All other candidates are under 10% among Conservatives. Looking at those who say they support the Tea Party, Perry is the top choice for one-quarter (24%) while 14% would vote for Mitt Romney and 9% for Ron Paul. All other candidates are at 7% or less and over one-quarter (28%) say they are not at all sure which candidate they would vote for in the Republican primary.

    Republicans versus Obama

    Looking ahead to the general election, there are two candidates who would beat President Obama and one who would make it a very close race. If Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee, he would win over President Obama 53% to 47%. If Ron Paul was the Republican nominee, he would beat President Obama 51% to 49%. The Republican candidate that would make this a tight race for President Obama is Rick Perry. If he was the nominee, the President would win 51% to 49%. Among the rest of the possible Republican nominees, President Obama would win with 54% against Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Jon Huntsman or Herman Cain, he would win with 55% of the vote against Newt Gingrich and with 57% of the vote against Sarah Palin.

    So What?

    The Republican nomination is a moving target full of twists and turns. The post-mortems on debates could move the needle as could who wins a straw poll. With Herman Cain’s surprise win in a Florida straw poll, will that give him a bump in the standings? Or is the Perry versus Romney story the one that dominates the standings? And, there is still talk about possible new entries into the race. In a few short months the field will be set, but at this stage fluidity is still the norm.

     

    TABLE 1

    REPUBLICAN PRIMARY ELECTION

    If you were voting in the Republican primary election and these were the candidates, who would you vote for?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total March 2011

    Total May 2011

    Total July 2011

    Total Sept 2011

    Political Party

    Political Philosophy

    Tea Party Support

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney

    10

    10

    11

    14

    18

    13

    15

    14

    15

    13

    14

    Rick Perry

    NA

    NA

    5

    11

    22

    3

    11

    21

    8

    2

    24

    Ron Paul

    NA

    6

    7

    9

    7

    7

    12

    8

    9

    10

    9

    Jon Huntsman, Jr.

    NA

    1

    3

    5

    1

    7

    6

    1

    5

    10

    1

    Sarah Palin

    7

    5

    8

    4

    7

    3

    4

    6

    4

    4

    6

    Michele Bachmann

    2

    2

    4

    4

    7

    2

    3

    6

    3

    4

    7

    Herman Cain

    NA

    2

    3

    3

    5

    1

    3

    6

    2

    1

    7

    Newt Gingrich

    5

    4

    1

    2

    4

    1

    2

    3

    1

    1

    3

    Rick Santorum

    1

     

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

    1

     

    1

    Not at all sure

    45

    42

    44

    48

    28

    63

    43

    35

    52

    56

    28

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than .05%; NA indicates it was not asked in that poll.

     

    TABLE 2

    2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE OR PRESIDENT OBAMA

    Looking at the list below, assuming each person listed is the Republican nominee running against President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, who would you vote for?

    Base: All adults

     

    Would vote for

    President Obama

    The Republican nominee

    %

    %

    Sarah Palin

    57

    43

    Newt Gingrich

    55

    45

    Herman Cain

    54

    46

    Jon Huntsman, Jr.

    54

    46

    Rick Santorum

    54

    46

    Michele Bachmann

    54

    46

    Rick Perry

    51

    49

    Ron Paul

    49

    51

    Mitt Romney

    47

    53

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

    TABLE 3

    2012 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION – REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE OR PRESIDENT OBAMA

    Looking at the list below, assuming each person listed is the Republican nominee running against President Obama in the 2012 presidential election, who would you vote for?

    Summary of those who would vote for the Republican nominee

    Base: All adults

     

    Total March 2011

    Total May 2011

    Total July 2011

    Total Sept 2011

    Party ID

    Philosophy

    Tea Party Support

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Cons.

    Mod.

    Lib.

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Mitt Romney

    49

    49

    51

    53

    93

    20

    53

    85

    46

    19

    90

    Ron Paul

    NA

    45

    50

    51

    89

    17

    52

    83

    42

    20

    85

    Rick Perry

    NA

    NA

    46

    49

    90

    15

    48

    82

    41

    18

    88

    Michele Bachmann

    41

    42

    46

    46

    87

    13

    45

    80

    38

    16

    86

    Rick Santorum

    43

    43

    45

    46

    86

    14

    44

    80

    37

    15

    84

    Jon Huntsman, Jr.

    NA

    41

    45

    46

    86

    13

    46

    79

    36

    17

    83

    Herman Cain

    NA

    41

    44

    46

    85

    12

    47

    79

    37

    14

    85

    Newt Gingrich

    44

    44

    46

    45

    86

    11

    46

    80

    36

    13

    83

    Sarah Palin

    42

    42

    46

    43

    81

    11

    41

    75

    33

    15

    82

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding; NA indicates it was not asked in that poll.

     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between September 12 and 19, 2011 among 2,462 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

    J40805

    Q1225, 1230

    The Harris Poll® #103, September 27, 2011

    By Regina A. Corso, SVP, Harris Poll, Public Relations and Youth Research