Rasumussen has a new Iowa poll out and it is tracking with polls taken every where else; Rick Perry is surging:
A Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of those likely to participate in the Iowa GOP Caucus shows that Perry is the first choice for 29%. Essentially tied for second are Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann at 18% and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney at 17%. Texas Congressman Ron Paul picks up 14% of the vote, and nobody else currently reaches the five percent (5%) mark. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
A month ago, before Perry officially entered the race, Bachmann and Romney were essentially tied for the lead with Perry in fourth place.
The new Iowa results are consistent with national polling which also shows Perry on top. Perry leads President Obama by three in an early look at a possible general election matchup. Other top Republican contenders are close. The president trails a generic Republican by eight.
Perry has the support of 45% of Tea Party voters, while Romney holds a slight 24% to 20% lead over Perry among those who are not members of the grass roots movement.
However, just 27 % of all likely Iowa caucus goers are certain of how they will vote. That leaves plenty of room for opinions to shift, particularly if new candidates enter the race. Perry has entered the race on top but has yet to face a debate or other serious campaign testing from his competitors. That will change with a large number of candidate forums scheduled during the month of September.
Translating that popularity into an organization that can get your supporters to the caucus sites in the dead of winter is the challenge facing Perry. Romney, Paul, and Bachmann have all been in Iowa for many months doing the slogging work required to build a top notch organization. Perry has enough time but until we see progress, the questions will continue.
Meanwhile, Bachmann needs a spark of some kind to reclaim some of the momentum that Perry's entrance in the race took away. In retrospect, Perry's decision to announce the same day as the Ames straw poll was very good strategy. He sucked a lot of the media oxygen away from Bachmann who should have gotten a nice little bump from Ames but ended up losing ground to Perry. Perry's ploy angered some Iowans but there appears to be no lasting damage.
Romney doesn't have to win Iowa but he can't finish 4th. With Ron Paul hot on his heels, Romney is going to have to devote more time and resources to Iowa than he probably wants to. How that plays out down the primary road will be interesting.