Perry eclipses Romney as front-runner in newest Gallup poll

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has assumed front-runner status in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, eclipsing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Twenty-nine percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said they preferred Perry as the nominee to square off against President Obama in 2012, according to the newest Gallup poll released Wednesday.

{mosads}Romney fell to second, registering as the choice of 17 percent of Republicans.

The poll suggests that Perry is riding a wave of enthusiasm since the Aug. 13 launch of his campaign and a subsequent week of heavy media coverage. The Gallup survey is the first major national poll to gauge Republicans

preference in a nominee since Perrys entry.

Only he and Texas Rep. Ron Paul (R) saw their numbers improve in the Gallup poll. Perry went from 18 percent in the July Gallup poll to 29 percent in the current poll; Paul crept from 10 percent to 13 percent following a strong second-place showing in the Ames straw poll.

Romneys numbers declined from 23 percent to 17 percent over the last month; Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) fell from 13 percent to 10 percent, despite her first-place finish in the Ames straw poll.

Rounding out the field are former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and businessman Herman Cain at 4 percent each, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) at 3 percent and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) at 1 percent.

Two percent of those polled chose other candidates, while 17 percent expressed no preference in a candidate.

The poll, conducted Aug. 17-21, has a 4 percent margin of error.

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