Rick Perry has only been in the Republican race for president for less than two weeks, and he is already the frontrunner -- by a lot.
The latest Gallup poll released on Wednesday shows Perry with 29% of the vote, crushing the former perceived frontrunner Mitt Romney by 12 percentage points. Following Romney's 17%, Ron Paul finished third with 13% and Michele Bachmann was fourth at 10%.
Bachmann was riding high after winning the Iowa straw poll a couple of week ago. However Perry had just announced and was not involved, and Romney did not participate.
Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich each got 4% of the vote. Rick Santorum received 3%. And Jon Huntsman, whom the media love but voters apparently don't, polled at just 1%.
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The poll shows reasonably strong support for Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani, who are not in the race but are considering joining. In a separate question when they are included, Palin got 11% to tie Ron Paul for third, and Giuliani finished fifth with 9%.
Perry appears to have a solid lead, but Gallup points out:
(Perry), like Romney before him, rates as a weaker front-runner than those in prior GOP nomination contests. Perry will attempt to avoid the same fates as late-entering candidates in the last two nomination contests -- Fred Thompson in the 2008 Republican field and Wesley Clark in the 2004 Democratic field. Both created a buzz surrounding their potential candidacies, and ranked among the national leaders upon entering the race. However, both fared poorly in early primaries and caucuses and soon after ended their candidacies.