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New numbers find real Perry-Romney race developing

Rick Perry and Mitt Romney Argue 9-12-11 Debate

Initial signs now of a real two-man race developing in the unfolding marathon struggle for the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nomination.

Rick Perry, the Texas governor who strode on stage so confidently to announce his candidacy 31 days ago, still holds the numerical lead over former Gov. Mitt Romney, who hasn't not been running for years.

What the Gallup organization calls the Positive Intensity Score shows Perry holding strong at 24. However, for the first time since Perry surged to the front of the GOP field, Romney's score has increased significantly.

In a new rating just released Gallup shows that now with a month to compare the two men, Romney's score has surged from 11 just two weeks ago to 16 now.

At the same time the scores for two GOP women have faded. With Perry in the race Michele Bachmann's score has dropped from 13 to 10. And the train appears to be leaving the station for Sarah Palin's hypothetical candiacy; her score plunged from 16 to 10. The 10 for both women are new lows for 2011.

Gallup's Positive Intensity Scores are devised by subtracting the percentage of Republicans with highly unfavorable views of each candidate from the percentage with highly favorable views among those who know the candidate.

Perry's first debate performance at the Reagan Library last week was workmanlike. He held his own standing next to the ever-polite, ever-attentive Romney. no big Perry mistakes.

Monday night's CNN/Tea Party Express debate was a different affair with six of the other seven candidates attacking Perry somehow. Newt Gingrich has reserved virtually all of his ammo for President Obama -- and the media.

Bachmann was particularly aggressive on Perry's later-revoked executive order to immunize sixth grade girls against the human papilloma virus and, Bachmann suggested, possible fundraising ties between the drug's maker and the Perry campaign.

Romney zeroed in on what he called Perry's "over-the-top" description of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme, saying the Texan should not be frightening seniors but rather working to fix the system's problems. Perry, in turn, guaranteed current recipients their Social Security provisions would remain avaiulable.

the Gallup surbvey was taken before the Tea Party debate.

Herman Cain's intensity score of 22 remains above Romney but has fallen five points in two weeks. Rudy Giuliani, like Palin unannounced, is up one point to 18.

Others in the Republican field are Rick Santorum (down from 10 to 8), Gingrich steady at 7, Ron Paul up to 7 from 6 and Jon Huntsman down from one to minus-one.

Next debate Sept. 22.

(UPDATE: A new Rasmussen Reports poll finds Romney leading Obama, 43-40, in a head-to-head matchup.)

RELATED:

Rick Perry vs everyone else

Perry's debate debut gives MSNBC top ratings so far

The Reagan debate: The most awkward, unexpected and weirdest moments

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Mike Carlson / Associated Press

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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