Rick Perry's only been in the Presidential race for two days but based on our most recent round of state polling he's already close to deserving co-front runner status. We found him tied for the lead last week among Republican voters in both Colorado and North Carolina, two very different states and also two that are a long way from Texas.
In North Carolina Perry's in a three way tie with Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin. Each is getting 17%. Herman Cain at 11% and Newt Gingrich at 10% round out the candidates in double digits and Michele Bachmann at 9%, Ron Paul at 7%, Tim Pawlenty at 2% (the poll was conducted before he dropped out), and Jon Huntsman at 1% represent the rest of the field.
Perry also led a PPP poll conducted in Virginia two weeks ago. It's clear he's going to be an extremely formidable candidate in the South and I'd expect that the next time we poll South Carolina he's either going to be in the lead or awfully close to it.
Perry's strength in Colorado might be more of a surprise. There he and Romney each get 20%, followed by Bachmann at 12%, Palin at 11%, Paul at 8%, Cain at 7%, Gingrich at 6%, Pawlenty at 3%, and Huntsman at 2%.
In both states Bachmann gains a lot of ground if you take Palin out of the picture. In North Carolina she and Perry tie at 17% with Romney at 16% and Paul and Gingrich at 11%. In Colorado she goes up to 15% with Romney at 22% and Perry at 21% leading the way.
We will also show Perry doing very well in Ohio and Wisconsin Republican polling that will be released later this week.
Full results here