Perry’s Exit Could Be Romney’s Gain (But It Ain’t Much)

Now that Rick Perry has dropped out of the presidential race, where are his Perry supporters likely to go? Nate Silver has one take on this here. Here is another snapshot from Lynn Vavreck and me, using a Jan. 14-17 YouGov poll.

For the plurality of Perry voters (43%), their second choice is Mitt Romney. Gingrich comes in a close second (29%). This pattern is evident among all voters except those who prefer Ron Paul. Romney’s status as a second choice for so many voters is evidence of his inevitability, as we wrote about last week here.

What’s even more interesting: two weeks ago, in the January 7-10 poll, Perry supporters tended to prefer Santorum as their second choice (43% chose him). The intervening week, during which Romney looked ever more like the eventual nominee, led some supporters to jump on the Romney bandwagon. It may not feel like Romney has the momentum in the race—based on Gingrich’s surge in SC, for example—but these data suggest that, under the surface, he does.

Perhaps this will change with Perry’s endorsement of Gingrich. But regardless of which candidate benefits from Perry’s exit, it’s important to remember that very few people were actually Perry supporters. So any benefits for the remaining candidates will be small.

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About John Sides 27 Articles

Affiliation: George Washington University

John Sides is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University.

Professor Sides studies political behavior in American and comparative politics. His current research focuses on political campaigns, the effects of factual information on public opinion, citizenship laws and national identity, and measurement equivalence. His work has appeared in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, American Politics Research, British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Communication, Political Studies, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. He helped found and contributes to The Monkey Cage, a political science blog.

Professor Sides received his Ph.D. from University of California, Berkeley, 2003.

Visit: John Sides Page

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