A new poll finds Gov. Rick Perry of Texas leading the Republican presidential pack in Florida, with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts on his heels.
The American Research Group poll finds that Perry, who has yet to formally enter the race despite coming in second in two recent national polls, leads in the Sunshine State with 16 percent, followed by Bachmann and Romney with 15 percent each. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who also has yet to enter the race, came in fourth with 13 percent. Businessman Herman Cain is fifth with 11 percent.
The rest of the pack trails in single digits. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is not an official candidate, took 7 percent. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas pulled in 4 percent, while former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich of Georgia took 3 percent. Despite basing his campaign in Orlando, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman took 1 percent, which ties him with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. Two candidates -- former Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and former Gov. Buddy Roemer of Lousiana -- took less than 1 percent.
The poll of 600 likely Republican primary voters in Florida (including 50 independents) was taken between July 18-24 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.
A poll taken in May by American Research Group shows that Romney and Gingrich are now on the decline in Florida, while Perry, Bachmann and Cain are on the rise. Romney led the May poll with 26 percent, followed by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 14 percent. Since that time, Huckabee announced he is not running. Gingrich, whose campaign since then has been plagued by defections, muddled messages and fundraising woes took third in the May poll with 11 percent. Palin placed fourth in the May poll with 9 percent. Businessman Donald Trump, who also announced since then that he was not running, took fifth with 7 percent.
Perry, who looks increasingly likely to enter the race as the weeks go on, was not included in the May poll. Bachmann, who has been surging in polls at the state and national level in recent weeks, took 5 percent in May and 15 percent in the July poll. Cain garnered 4 percent in May and moved up to take 11 percent in the new poll.
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