Texas Governor Rick Perry, who has been a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination less than a week, has jumped to a commanding lead in Georgia. In an Insider Advantage poll released on August 19, Perry was preferred by 24 percent of likely voters in Georgia.
The second place candidate, Georgia native Herman Cain, was selected by fifteen percent of the respondents, trailing Perry by nine percent. Another Georgian, Newt Gingrich, finished a distant third with nine percent.
Michelle Bachmann, winner of last weekend’s Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, was in a fourth place tie with fellow Republican woman, Sarah Palin, who has not announced her candidacy. Both women had eight percent. Putative national frontrunner Mitt Romney finished fifth among Georgians with only six percent, one fourth of Perry’s support. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman finished last with five and one percent respectively. Former senator Rick Santorum and Gary Johnson, the former governor of New Mexico, did not rate separately in the poll, but were included in the four percent of Georgians who chose “other.” Support for Tim Pawlenty, who has already withdrawn, would also be included in this category.
Significantly, twenty percent of Georgians are still undecided about who to vote for. The Georgia primary will be held on February 7, which leaves less than six months for the candidates to compete for the fifth of the Georgia electorate that remains undecided.
The result of the Georgia poll may be a harbinger for the nation at large. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of polls shows Romney and Perry in a statistical dead heat, where Romney has a slight edge. However, most of the national polls were taken before Perry’s candidacy announcement. The single poll taken in the past week by Rasmussen Reports is the only one that shows Perry with a lead. In that poll, Perry leads Romney by a margin of 29-18 percent. The remaining candidates are confined to single digits in the RCP Average.
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