Perry is the runaway favorite among Republicans

Two weeks ago, I warned that Rick Perry was the right candidate for many Americans, given the global shift in power politics: “Rick Perry = Margaret Thatcher?”  I argued that he had to be taken seriously, and that for many he seems to offer a way to make American strong again by cutting past social commitments, a la Thatcherism in Britain.

Betting on Perry as the Republican candidate now looks easy — in the latest CNN poll, he dominates, with 27% of Republican voters favoring him as against 14% for Romney, 10% for Palin, and 9% for Bachmann.    That an almost 2-1 lead over Romney, and 3-1 over Bachmann.

Perry has numerous advantages.  Unlike Mitt Romney, he has huge appeal to southern and evangelical voters.  Unlike Michelle Bachman, Perry is already deeply plugged into mainstream republican money resources, and has strong backing from the business community.  Perry also has a record of executive success in a state that is well above average in job  creation and below average in taxation.  I think the race for the nomination is his to lose, and unless the economy improves dramatically in the next year (something that Republicans in Congress will do all they can to prevent), the same could be true for the Presidential election.  We had better get used to paying serious attention to Perry and his policies.

About jackgoldstone

Hazel Professor of Public Policy at George Mason University
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9 Responses to Perry is the runaway favorite among Republicans

  1. Eric Selbin says:

    So what do you make of a Christie candidacy? This, it seems to me, should/would worry the Obama folks…I don’t think there is anyway Perry holds up in the face of Christie…or even Pain.

    • A good fight is always entertaining. It depends on whether the Perry vs. Christie race becomes about who is more sensible (Christie wins) or who is more true-blue to Tea Party Activists (Perry wins). Given the polarization we’re seeing (see Mike Polen’s comment below), I’d bet on Perry.

  2. Eric Selbin says:

    Fair enough about Trump among insiders, but a whole host of other folks–captured by pollsters, no?_-were pretty enamored for 15 minutes. I’ll just add that some Republican insiders down here–one of whom I think knows what he’s talking about–don;t think he’s going to able to stand the heat. FInally, for those of you interested, let me recommend the work of _The Austin American-Statesman_’s Jason Embry–he is smart, hard-working, and seems to have folks inside who talk to him (full disclosure: he’s a former student of mine)

    • I’ll be happy to point to Texas insiders who can shed light on Perry. I think he’s either going to succeed or flame out. I hope for the latter — his views are so far from mainstream 20th century US practices. But people are so scared right now, they (meaning Republicans) may act desperately and embrace anyone who seems to offer a better future.

  3. Eric Selbin says:

    I think Perry has a decent shot at the Republican nomination, though I will remind you that not that long ago all sorts of smart folks had the Donald walking off with it. He may yet be a flavor of the (few) month(s) and I will be interested to see where he is post Thanksgiving and post a Palin entry (though I think Thanksgiving may be a key time for her as well). Having watched Perry down here in the Lone Star state all these years, I think it unlikely he’s elected President. Unlike Shrub, our last gift to the national political scene, Perry is dumb (Shrub was just largely indifferent), does not well play well with others, and does not hold up well under any serious grilling. I do see a path for him to the nomination and realize if he gets that, it’s anyone’s game to some degree. But I still think it’s Obama’s election to lose and I think he and his brain trust are doing their best to do so.

  4. sanchk says:

    Mehh. Perry’s campaign is still only two and a half weeks old; while there’s plenty of reason to think he’s a front-runner, his nomination is not that certain. Poll numbers can be fairly volatile; would you thought have thought of someone like Donald Trump a serious contender, despite his strong polling a few months back? Perry still has to deal with questions about his record, clarify his policy positions, deal with the debates, meet voters outside of his core constituency – and Romney/Bachmann still have plenty of time to adjust their campaigns to account for Perry’s presence.

    But you’re right – we need to listen to Perry and his policies, once he actually puts something out on the table. I would have thought his book ‘Fed Up’ would cover this, but he’s already started to disown some of the sections he wrote only weeks into the campaign.. I think I’ll wait until he establishes a more concrete agenda.

    • Trump was never a serious contender — smart insiders knew his candidacy was a fleeting publicity stunt. Perry is the real deal — a veteran campaigner with 10 straight election victories, who lives for electoral combat. He has an established base within the Republican party, both geographically and politically. Watch out.

  5. Devin says:

    Do you think, if he wins the nomination, that Perry will back down from his climate change skepticism (not to mention his stance on evolution)?

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