WASHINGTON ó For the first time, Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads President Barack Obama in a national poll, by 44 to 41 percent, while his GOP rivals trail in head-to-head match-ups against the president.|By Maria Recio, McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON ó For the first time, Texas Gov. Rick Perry leads President Barack Obama in a national poll, by 44 to 41 percent, while his GOP rivals trail in head-to-head match-ups against the president.
The new Rasmussen poll signals a breakthrough for Perry, who trailed Obama by 3 percentage points in last week’s Rasmussen poll.
The latest survey of 1,000 likely voters, released Thursday, was conducted Aug. 23-30 and has an error margin of 3 percentage points, equal to the margin between Perry and Obama in the poll results.
Since his late entry into the race Aug. 13, Perry has surged to the top of six major polls, displacing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the former front-runner.
Perry heads to South Carolina on Labor Day for a forum with other major GOP candidates organized by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C. On Wednesday, Perry will participate in his first debate with his Republican rivals at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., followed by another debate Sept. 12 in Tampa, Fla.
Perry’s camp downplayed the new poll, with political adviser David Carney telling McClatchy Newspapers via email, “Polls at this point are neither predictive nor enlightening, but they kill lots of trees and keep many people employed.”
However, political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of the University of Southern California said Perry’s recent candidacy had made him “the new, new thing. It’s not surprising he’s gotten a bump in the polls.”
“It’s still not happy news for Obama or Romney,” Jeffe added. “It’s early. The primary election season is a series of statewide elections, and this is a national poll.”
In the new Rasmussen poll, Romney trails Obama by 4 points, 43 to 39 percent. Earlier in the year, Romney edged the president by 1 point. The new poll also found that Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., trails the president by 46 to 38 percent and businessman Herman Cain loses to him 42 to 35 percent.
Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said of Perry that “In a series of polls, he’s skyrocketed to the front-runner position, and that is significant.”
However, Sabato noted, going into the upcoming debate “he’s going to get more scrutiny and a different standard of evaluation.”