Poll Power: It looks like Iowa Republicans have a new front-runner, at least according to a new Rasmussen Report. The field's newest candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, has taken a sizable lead in his first poll since he entered the race.
Here's a portion of the report...
"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...As for the other candidates, four percent (4%) support former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum; four percent (4%) back Georgia businessman Herman Cain; three percent (3%) favor former U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman, and two percent (2%) support former House Speaker Newt Gingrich."
What does it mean?
Perry has catapulted past the other candidates who have been campaigning in Iowa for months.
Bachmann's front-runner status seems to have evaporated almost overnight since her win in the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames.
Romney still holds a following in the state. Enough to convince him to campaign more here?
Paul shows he still has strength. But doesn't he need a 1st or at least a really strong 2nd place finish in the Iowa Caucuses to be taken more seriously nationally?
Santorum and Cain? How can they find much optimism here? Santorum has campaigned in Iowa more than nearly anyone else. But his numbers remain near the bottom with Huntsman, who isn't even competing in Iowa, and Gingrich, who makes only token campaign appearances in Iowa. Cain had already all but disappeared in Iowa any way.
Having said all of that, the caucuses are still 5 months away. Or 4 months. Or 3 months, depending on what happens with those other states who might still try to jump ahead.
We'll see how Perry's standing holds as other candidates start turning their criticism toward him more, along with the media's increased scrutiny of his past and future statements.