WASHINGTON — Buoyed by his recent entry into the 2012 presidential contest, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has jumped past former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and leads the GOP field for the first time, according to a new Gallup poll of Republican voters.
The national survey showed Perry leading Romney by a double-digit margin, 29 percent to 17 percent. It also found that Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota got no significant bounce from her victory in an Iowa straw poll, which was overshadowed by Perry's announcement speech the same day.
Bachmann has dropped three percentage points, to 10 percent, since the previous Gallup poll, conducted in late July. A more relevant measure of Bachmann's prospects will await the next reputable poll in Iowa, where she and Perry are facing off in the most important early test of the Republican race.
Romney, who has waged an unusually low-profile campaign for a purported front-runner, has seen his support drop steadily for two straight months in Gallup polling. He has lost one-third of his support since June, according to Gallup.
The survey of 1,040 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, released Wednesday, was based on interviews from Aug. 17 to Aug. 21 and has a margin of sampling error of four percentage points. It is the first Gallup poll conducted since Perry entered the race.
Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who was fourth in the previous Gallup survey, moved up to third, with 13 percent, a gain of three points since the last Gallup survey. The rest of the GOP field was clustered below 5 percentage points.