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Perry rises to top of Gallup national poll, Bachmann falls

A nationwide poll conducted following the entrance of Texas Gov. Rick Perry into the presidential race knocked Mitt Romney from the top spot and pushed back against U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s inertia.

Rick Perry 29% Mitt Romney 17% Ron Paul 13% Michele Bachmann 10% Herman Cain 4% Newt Gingrich 4% Rick Santorum 3% John Hunstman 1% *The Gallup poll was conducted with Republican-leaning voters between Aug. 17-21. It has a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.*

The poll results, which were released Wednesday, probably come as a surprise to the Romney campaign. Romney bested a then-unofficial Perry run in Gallup polls as recent as last month, where Perry garnered only 18 percent support. But Perry also performed well in a recent Rasmussen survey.

Much of Perry’s support comes from his deep backing in the south, where he garnered 39 percent support, according to the Gallup poll. The poll results also suggest that Perry could have room to grow — his name is only recognized by 67 percent of likely Republican voters.

The poll results could signal danger for Bachmann, who dropped three points in the last month. She had earlier overtaken Romney in Iowa and was rising in national polls in the run-up to her win of the Iowa Straw Poll. Bachmann’s also slipped in recent Iowa polls since Perry officially announced his candidacy.

Perry’s official entrance into the race appears to have eaten into Bachmann’s conservative base: She lost about 10 percent of conservative supporters since the July poll.

The contest now heads into September debates where frontrunners like Perry can expect to be again tested.

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