Gov. Rick Perry is facing more bad news in the polls after the latest survey by CBS and the New York Times showed him in fifth place with 6 percent, a 17-point plunge since mid-September, when he was the Republican frontrunner.
The poll, released Tuesday night, also showed that Atlanta businessman Herman Cain has surpassed former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts to become the new leader for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.
Cain had 25 percent among Republican voters, compared to 21 percent for Romney. The two candidates were tied at 17 percent in an early October poll.
The poll of likely Republican primary voters shows that Perry now trails former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has 10 percent, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul, with 8 percent. At the back of the pack were Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, with 2 percent, and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who each had 1 percent.
The survey, conducted among 1,650 voters from Oct. 19 through Monday, was completed one day before Perry released a sweeping economic plan that includes an optional 20 percent sales tax.
Perry is hoping that the economic initiative, which he unveiled on Tuesday in a speech in Gray Court, S.C., will help revive his foundering candidacy. The Perry team has also brought in additional advisers with experience in past presidential races to help get the campaign back on track.
Perry’s once formidable appeal to Tea Party voters has largely shifted to Cain, according to the poll. Perry, who was polling 30 percent among Tea Party voters in mid-September, had only 7 percent in the new survey. By contrast, Cain’s Tea Party support has quadrupled in the same time period, with 32 percent of Tea Party voters saying they now support the former Atlanta businessman.
One bright spot for the Perry camp is the fact that most voters are still largely undecided. Only 19 percent said their minds are already made up. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus four percentage points.
-- Dave Montgomery