The CNN headline reads, “Perry near top of pack in GOP nomination battle,” but the more striking thing in the network’s poll is just how unsettled the Republican primary field continues to be:
According to a CNN/ORC International poll, 15 percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP pick Perry as their first choice for their party’s nomination, just two points behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s making his second bid for the White House. Romney’s two point margin over Perry is within the survey’s sampling error …
The survey indicates that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is making his third bid for the White House, are at 12 percent apiece.
So that’s five current or potential candidates within five points of each other, and no one even cracking 20 percent.
The result is worth noting for a few reasons. First, it’s one more data point showing that Mitt Romney really ought to be beatable in this primary, given that his hard core of support is only somewhere in the mid- to high teens despite spending months as the national frontrunner.