PRINCETON, NJ – Rick Perry’s candidacy has attracted strong initial support from Republicans who identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement. Perry leads by 21 percentage points over the closest contenders among this group, Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann. Among Republicans who say they do not support the Tea Party movement, Romney and Perry are essentially tied.
These results are based on an Aug. 17-21 Gallup poll, which showed Perry overtaking Romney as the front-runner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination among all Republicans nationwide.
The poll finds that 58% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement, with 36% saying they do not consider themselves supporters. Included among the group of Tea Party supporters is a smaller group – representing 12% of Republicans – who say they are “strong” supporters of the movement. Among this smaller group, Perry’s lead is even greater, 46% to 16%, over Bachmann, with all other candidates in single digits.
In Gallup’s July measurement of Republicans’ nomination preferences, before Perry officially entered the race, Romney held a slight edge over Bachmann among Tea Party supporters, 29% to 23%. Romney led Paul by 25% to 16% among nonsupporters.