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SALT LAKE CITY -- Since declaring his intentions for a bid at the White House, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has stolen the media’s attention for the Republican Party. Almost every national opinion poll has declared Perry as the GOP front-runner by significant margins. But what if Perry isn’t around when primary season starts early next year?
At least that’s what political pundit Brent Budowsky of The Hill wrote Monday when he said, “Trust me. Perry will drop out long before the year ends.”
Recent national poll numbers show Perry is the clear favorite at this time, but the political winds may be shifting back toward former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney or to candidates Herman Cain and Ron Paul, who continue to improve in polling as the race moves forward. Following his dismal performances in the most recent GOP debates, Perry has reached his campaign climax, allowing other candidates to make up some ground.
Budowsky attributes the now slow, but self-destructing Perry campaign to his “phony conservative” platform. “He is a pay-for-play politician who gobbles up Obama stimulus like a hound dog eating a bone, and created oceans of new government jobs in Texas while his big donors mysteriously received big government contracts,” he said. “The Texas deficit ballooned and the Texas jobless rate doubled on Rick Perry’s watch.”
According to a poll released on Monday by Zogby International, Perry has dropped in the polls by more than 20 percentage points over the past month among Republican voters. Perry is now second to Herman Cain, who lead the Republican field with 28 percent.
And with recent straw poll results in Michigan and Florida in favor of Romney and Cain, respectively, Perry is losing ground to a conservative base that looked promising early in his campaign. In Michigan, hometown favorite Romney secured a strong win over Perry, winning 51 percent of votes, compared to the 17 percent Perry garnered.
In Florida, Cain won a surprising 37 percent of votes, beating out Perry (15 percent) and Romney (14 percent). Although straw poll results have little impact on the eventual nominee declared sometime next year, the data suggests that Perry may be losing traction. A poll released on Monday by CNN showed Romney as the strongest contender against incumbent President Barack Obama.
And if Perry does if fact drop out of the race, Budowsky said it’s also good news for Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is increasingly becoming a household name.
Trust me. Perry will drop out long before the year ends.
“If (Perry) dropped out today Ron Paul could be in second place. Will pundits say it is a two-man race between Romney and Paul?” Budowsky said. “When Perry drops out, Ron Paul could be in second place. It could be a magical moment for Ron Paul, and perhaps Herman Cain, for a clean shot at second place. … Both Paul and Cain deserve far more respect from the major media.”
And with a national audience tuning in to the GOP debates at record numbers -- Thursday’s FOX/Google debate was the most watched debate in history -- it is imperative that candidates connect with voters. Once overlooked candidates, Ron Paul and Herman Cain have delivered in the most recent debates, rising in national polls. Voters are paying attention to how the candidates perform and they want answers.
Meanwhile, former GOP front-runner Mitt Romney continues to remain a consistent contender among presidential hopeful. Although many pundits believe Romney “looks” the most presidential, there are serious questions about his campaign that voters will continue to vet as the presidential season progresses. Nevertheless, the GOP race may be more fluid than early political pundits were predicting.