So a funny thing happened in Rick Perry's march to the White House. It turns out that voters don't exactly appreciate what he's saying about Social Security. From PPP:
Americans strongly disagree with the statements Rick Perry made about Social Security in last week's Republican Presidential debate, and Barack Obama has nearly doubled his lead over Perry nationally in the span of just 3 weeks.Perhaps because of that, the assault on Perry from other Republicans continues. Last night we saw a bit of that from Mitt Romney (the pundit declared "winner" of last night's debate, and without insta-polls, how else would we know?) on SS and from Bachmann and Huntsman on HPV vaccines and immigration. No one seems to be afraid of taking Perry on, and unlike when he went after Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas ("It Takes Balls To Execute An Innocent Man") people really seem to care about what Perry is saying this time around.
Only 20% of voters agree with Perry that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme to 70% who dissent from that statement. Democrats (4/87) and independents (20/69) are pretty universal in their disagreement with Perry and even Republicans (39/49) don't stand with him on this one. When it comes to the possibility of actually ending Social Security voters are even more unanimous- 82% oppose taking that step to only 10% who would be supportive of it. If Perry ends up as the Republican nominee and Democrats can effectively convince the electorate that he does want to end Social Security it could be an extremely damaging issue for him.
That would be something of a first for Perry to deal with, and so far, he hasn't proven he can. In any case, in PPP polling he trails Obama by 11, and on Intrade, he trails Romney 39.8-34.7 this afternoon.
Because of the tea party's influence on GOP politics, Perry remains formidable, but he's nothing like a lock or a sure thing. Romney remains more electable, and after last night, the ever more obvious choice of the Republican establishment (for some typical bad press coverage, see Dana Milbank). Perry's tough days are in fact more ahead of him than behind—and it couldn't happen to a nicer guy.