Romney catching up to Perry after Florida debate

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Mitt Romney is closing in on Rick Perry in the wake of last Thursday’s debate in Florida, according to a CNN/ORC poll released Monday.

The poll, which was conducted in the three days following the debate, found Romney, who trailed Perry by 12 percentage points two weeks ago, is now just 7 points behind, taking 21 percent to Perry’s 28 percent among Republican voters.

Newt Gingrich now places third, with 10 percent, followed by Herman Cain, Sarah Palin and Ron Paul, who are tied with 7 percent each.

Without Sarah Palin in the race, Perry gets 30 percent of the vote, Romney 22 percent and Gingrich 11 percent. Herman Cain is in fourth place at 9 percent, followed by Ron Paul with 7 percent.

In a general election against President Barack Obama, Romney fares the best of the candidates, getting 48 percent to Obama’s 49 percent — a statistical tie. Perry does worse, losing to Obama 46 percent to 51 percent among registered voters, putting him on par with Ron Paul, who loses 47 percent to 51 percent.

Romney is also the only candidate whom a majority of registered voters feel has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have. Sixty-two percent of registered voters agree that Romney has those qualities, while just 47 percent say Perry does. By comparison, 58 percent of voters say Obama possesses those qualities. (ALSO ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Dennis Miller boards the Herman Cain train)

The poll surveyed 1,010 American adults using live telephone interviews from Sept. 23 through Sept. 25. The sample of registered voters included 917 people, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage point. The sample of 447 Republicans has a 4.5 percentage point margin of error.

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