Texas Gov. Rick Perry's entrance into the presidential race has generated some much-needed enthusiasm among Republican voters who were previously underwhelmed by their choices, according to new polls.
Perry's decision to run instantly reshaped the dynamics of the race, and polls have him surging to the top of the field. Gallup parsed their data and found that Perry's rapid rise is buoyed by a resounding lead amongst self-identified Tea Party voters, where he leads his rivals by 20 points or more. That could be crucial to capturing undecided conservative voters, as 58 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents identify themselves as supporters of the Tea Party movement, according to Gallup.
Perry has immediately become the preferred Republican nomination candidate of Tea Party movement supporters and, by extension, those who view government spending and power as the most important issue, Gallup pollster Jeffrey Jones wrote in an analysis.
An Associated Press-GfK poll also found that Perry's candidacy has helped to close a yawning enthusiasm gap among that same bloc of Republican and Republican-leaning voters. About two-thirds of voters are now satisfied with their choices, compared to half in June, and a majority now professed great interest in the race.
Evidently, much of that can be attributed to Perry. Mitt Romney, who had been leading in the polls, hasn'tt seen his approval rating budge from about two in three voters. But 63 percent of Republicans view Perry in a positive light, compared with 33 percent in June, and just 12 percent view him negatively.
Still, those results might not translate into a general election. Just 41 percent of people surveyed were satisfied with the Republican field, and no candidate was viewed favorably by a majority of voters.