With Christie out, where does Perry stand today?

October 4, 2011 4:24:49 PM PDT
On Tuesday, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie confirmed he is staying out of the 2012 race for the White House. It comes on the same day a new poll shows just how far Governor Rick Perry's popularity is falling. In Focus reporter Ted Oberg is digging into the numbers to put the Perry's troubles in focus.

A month ago, Perry was new to the race riding a wave of support that shot him to first place right away ahead of Mitt Romney and everyone else. One month and three tough debates later, Perry is falling, now in second place tied with Herman Cain and fighting to convince his voters he can win.

The presidential political headline Tuesday is clearly that Christie will stay on the sidelines.

"Now is not my time," Christie said.

With Christie out, attention turns back to those who are still in like Rick Perry.

His debate struggles are well-known, the 'n-word' on the stone outside his hunting lease is problematic, and now the Texas governor who has been in first place since he got in to the race is tied with Cain for second.

The new ABC News poll shows where Perry is losing support. Yes he's down 13 points overall in a month, but when you look closer it becomes a little clearer where that loss is coming from.

Since early September, he's lost 35 points among senior citizens which could be attributed to Social Security issues.

And Perry is down 35 points among Tea Partiers and 27 percent among very conservative Republicans -- groups most likely to be turned off by his positions on in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and the HPV vaccine controversy.

Perry is still seen as more relatable than Romney, but the issues have hurt Perry -- 44 percent of voters say the more they know about him, the less likely they are to vote for him.

We spoke with Felicia Cravens, founder of the Houston Tea Party Society. When we asked her if people who know Perry don't see him as conservative as he portrays himself, she responded, "Right. But we're skeptics."

Cravens admits immigration and HPV have hurt Perry, but it's not over yet.

"He's not going down without a fight," Cravens said.

Especially when you consider that current frontrunner Mitt Romney hasn't picked up any support from Perry's fall.

"No one trusts him. No one trusts him to be conservative. Texas doesn't feel, I don't think, that he's the least bit conservative," said Cravens.

The same ABC News poll that shows Perry in second place also asked Chris Christie supporters for a second choice. But Perry gets little help there. It looks virtually the same as the overall numbers.


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