Washington (CNN) - As Texas Gov. Rick Perry comes closer and closer to jumping into the race for the White House, he's also close to the top of a new national survey in the battle for the GOP presidential nomination.
A CNN/ORC International Poll released Friday indicates that 14 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.
According to the poll, both former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin are at 13 percent. While both Giuliani, who ran for the presidency four years ago, and Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, have flirted with bids, neither has taken concrete steps towards launching a campaign.
The survey indicates that Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has the support of 12 percent, with Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third run for the presidency, at eight percent, and former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain at six percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is at four percent, with former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty at three percent, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at two percent, and former Utah Gov. and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at one percent. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Rep. Thad McCotter of Michigan both register at less than one half of one percent.
According to the poll, Perry appears to be changing some GOP minds.
"In May, 50 percent of Republicans said that they did not want Perry to throw his hat in the ring; now, 50 percent say they would welcome a bid by Perry," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
The survey indicates that Perry's biggest supporters are men: He wins 20 percent among Republican men, compared to only eight percent among GOP women. Perry also has a lot of strength among tea party supporters. He is in first place, with 22 percent, among Republicans who say they support the tea party. Among non-tea partiers, Romney is in first place, with 22 percent, and Perry drops to five percent.
Since Perry was not on the list of potential candidates in previous CNN/ORC polls, it is necessary to take him out of the list to see which candidates have gained or lost ground this summer - and there are some striking results.
"The biggest winner has been Bachmann, whose support with Perry out of the running has nearly quadrupled, from 4 percent in June to 15 percent now. Romney has lost seven points during that time, and Palin has dropped by five points," adds Holland. "But the biggest loser may be Gingrich, whose support went from double digits to an anemic four percent."
Fourteen percent say they are very satisfied with the field of 13 GOP presidential candidates listed on the poll, with another 52 percent saying they are fairly satisfied. Thirty-four percent say they are not satisfied.
The poll was conducted for CNN by ORC International on July 18-20, with 455 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points for questions regarding the GOP presidential nomination horserace.