Poll: Perry would start as serious contender

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) would start out as a serious contender should he jump into the 2012 presidential race, a new poll found.

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, if Perry decided to jump into the presidential race, he would be the top choice of 11 percent of Republican voters, behind only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and ahead of other candidates already in the race, including Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R).

Thirty percent of voters said Romney would be their first choice if they had to vote in the GOP presidential primary today. Sixteen percent selected Bachmann.

Perry has said he's considering jumping into the presidential race, encouraging longstanding speculation that he would make a run. On Monday, he said he was going through a "steady process of making a decision" about jumping in.

If he does decide to get into the race, he's indicated that he's only interested in being president and won't settle for vice president.

“You kinda [ask the question]: Vice president [or] governor of Texas — that kinda answers itself,” Perry said Tuesday, laughing in response to a question about whether he would accept the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

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