Politically engaged Republican activists have decisively soured on Rick Perry and warmed to Mitt Romney over the last few weeks, according to the latest HuffPost-Patch Power Outsiders survey in the early primary and caucus states. Romney has also gained a clear advantage over Perry on the critical question of electability.
We asked 160 Republican political activists, party officials and officeholders in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina how their opinions of presidential candidates Romney and Perry have changed over the last two to three weeks.
The results tell an unequivocal story: A majority (57 percent) say their impression of Perry has grown less favorable, while just 16 percent say it has become more favorable. The results are nearly reversed for Perry's rival. A majority (47 percent) say their impression of Romney has become more favorable, while only 13 percent say they think less of him.
As we've discussed before, the most popular guy in almost every NFL stadium is the backup quarterback. He hasn't thrown an interception; hasn't fumbled a snap from center. Even if the fans have no clue whether he can move the team down the field, it is just the idea of having a new guy in there that is so intriguing. About six-and-a-half weeks ago the backup quarterback named Rick Perry snapped on his chin strap and, to the roar of the crowd, took his place in the GOP backfield. Turned out - and I'll finish torturing this metaphor after this - Perry's lack of "reps" (running plays in practice) showed in his first debate, continued in the second debate, and had him heading to the sidelines with his head down after his third debate. The step up in class from being the Governor of one of the largest states in the union to running in all the states in the union has been a very difficult transition for Perry. Just like - and I suh-WEAR I'll stop after this - a really good college quarterback from a really good college going to the NFL. He finds the game is faster, the opponents are bigger, the defenses are smarter, and the plays are far more complex.