The Romney-Perry Electability Gap

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 21 2011 9:15 AM

The Romney-Perry Electability Gap

Item one: The War Room Logistics poll from Florida.

David Weigel David Weigel

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

Romney and Rick Perry are virtually dead even, garnering 25 percent each of the Republican vote, with Newt Gingrich a distant third at 9 percent... but in a general election match-up, only Romney matches Obama, pulling in 45 percent of the vote to the presidents 44 percent – a lead that’s well within the overall error margin of the poll that sampled 1,400 self-described likely Florida voters.
“It appears that Romney has cross over-appeal in this early stage, especially with the fickle Independent vote,” pollster Alex Patton noted in an email. Only Romney bests Obama among independents, 45-39. Obama would beat Perry right now, 48-40 percent.
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Item two: The Winthrop University poll from South Carolina.

Perry leads Romney, 30.5 percent to 27.3 percent, among those who say they "definitely" plan to vote in the Republican primary, according to a Winthrop University poll released Tuesday. Perry's lead lies within the poll's margin of error. Businessman Herman Cain places a distant third, attracting 7.7 percent support. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who still hasn’t announced her presidential intentions, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich receive 5.8 percent and 5.3 percent, respectively. Close behind is Texas Rep. Ron Paul with 4.2 percent support and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann with 3.5 percent.

Neither poll has the track record of Mason-Dixon or even PPP,* but both show Romney stronger, and Perry weaker, then the blase CW would suggest. In South Carolina, Bachmann's support has mostly flowed over to Perry, but he's not fully in command over Romney, who won only 15 percent of the vote here in 2008. This is because Romney has thrived since Perry got into the race and 2012 candidates started attacking him, not the former governor of Massachusetts.

*No offense! Just saying that M-D has been around longer.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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