Washington (CNN) – A new national survey is further proof that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's entrance earlier this month into the race for the White House has dramatically altered the battle for the Republican presidential nomination.
According to a CNN/ORC International Poll of Republicans and independent voters who lean towards the GOP, Perry now sits atop the list of Republican presidential candidates, with strong support from most demographic groups.
Full results (pdf)
The survey, released Monday, indicates that 27 percent of Republicans nationwide support Perry for their party's nomination, with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's making his second bid for the White House, at 14 percent. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin follows at ten percent, with Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at nine percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third bid for the presidency, at six percent. Every one else listed on the questionnaire registered in the low single digits.
The survey follows a Gallup poll out last week which also placed Perry at the top of the GOP field. Other polling released in the past week also confirms the findings of the CNN and Gallup surveys.
"Perry's support is higher among Republican men, at 32 percent, than Republican women, at 23 percent, but he has more support among either group than any other candidate," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
According to the survey, Perry supporters tend to be older and have higher incomes, but the longtime Texas governor also tops the list, albeit by smaller margins, among lower-income Republicans and those under 50 years old.
"Perry's biggest support comes from Republicans who say they are supporters of the tea party movement - he wins 37 percent of their vote - but he also edges Romney by a couple of points among Republicans who don't call themselves tea party supporters," adds Holland.
While both Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, and Giuliani, who ran for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination, have both frequently flirted with bids for the White House, neither has taken concrete steps to launch a campaign.
Take Palin and Giuliani out of the mix and listing only the announced candidates, and the poll indicates Perry with 32 percent support, followed by Romney at 18 percent, Bachmann at 12 percent, Gingrich at seven percent, Paul at six percent, and everyone else in the low single digits.
While Perry has surged in the polls following his late entry into the race, the question remains whether he can maintain his position in future surveys. The last two candidates who made high profile late entries into the race for the White House did not have staying power.
"In 2003, Wesley Clark was a late entrant in the Democratic field and almost immediately jumped to the top of the pack. Fred Thompson did the same thing four years later on the GOP side and quickly was in a virtual tie for first place. But by November, both men had dropped in the polls and neither did very well when the voting started," says Holland. "Bill Clinton was a late entry in 1991 - he filed his papers with the Federal Election Commission in August - but the Democratic field that year was much less crowded than the GOP field today."
Much could change in the coming weeks, as the pace of the race for the White House picks up with a vengeance over the next two months, with five GOP presidential debates (including two CNN debates) and six major events that will also attract many of the candidates.
Meanwhile, the survey indicates that number of Democrats and independents who lean towards the Democratic party who would like the party to nominate someone else besides President Barack Obama has topped out after months of steady growth. Seventy-two percent of Democrats want to see Obama re-nominated, with 27 percent wanting a different candidate. That's virtually unchanged since early August, although it is higher than in June.
The CNN/ORC International Poll was conducted August 24-25, with 467 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, and 463 Democrats and independents who lean Democratic, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.