By Javier ManjarresTexas Governor Rick Perry has taken a huge nose-dive in the polls as conservatives have been questioning his immigration policy as well as whether or not he can stand up to President Obama in a debate were he to win the Republican Presidential nomination.
Perry skyrocketed to the top of the polls and had enjoyed a double-digit lead over Governor Mitt Romney, but he cratered after a very lackluster debate at the Presidency 5 event held in Orlando, Florida. To make matters worse, Perry failed to address the constituents who attended the event to see him, prompting a good bunch of them to vote for Herman Cain in the straw poll- a protest vote if you would.
A recent poll shows Cain with a commanding lead in Florida over Perry, and now Team Perry is having a hard time finding people in Florida to come aboard the ‘Perry Plane’. One local tea party activist says he was approached by the Perry campaign to help lead efforts in his county, however he had to decline the offer due to the fact that Governor Perry “is out of touch with conservatives” and questions if Perry is for amnesty for illegal aliens.
So is all hope lost for Rick Perry? Some might say that it is, but I wouldn’t agree that his chances are done. Even though Herman Cain is now the front runner, there is enough of a “wait-and-see” attitude amongst enough Republicans in Florida, simply because they feel Perry has more to offer than what he’s displayed over the past several debates. This does not in any way mean that Perry can rest easy, because this sentiment I describe is spiraling down the toilet pretty fast- take heed Governor Perry and step up.
Texas-based blogger Melissa Clouthier of Liberty Pundits makes a few interesting points for consideration:
Governor Perry will bounce back as people take another look at his innovative plans for the economy and the results he’s had in Texas. He just needs to keep introducing himself to the nation. Also, it takes time for any candidate to adjust and grow into the national spotlight. As he does that, he will communicate his experience and ideas more effectively to people.
This is very telling, since the bulk of criticism Perry has endured has to more to do with his lackluster debate performances or clumsy answers and not his pretty solid record of conservative governance or the policy proposals he is currently touting. In addition, Perry has not fully introduced himself to the a good enough sized portion of the GOP electorate, and when he does, there will probably be a shift in the polls that benefits him.
There’s no doubt that Cain is well positioned right now, but his ascendancy to the top tier of candidates means he is in for a new level of intensified scrutiny that he has not previously experienced in this campaign, and it remains to be seen if Cain will either solidify or shed his lead based on his ability to handle more probative questions about both his positions on issues and the policies he is presently advocating.
So what does Perry need to do to save his candidacy? Well for starters, he needs to step up and be ready to pick his fights, and when he does, he has to sharpen his attacks to a level that show he is capable of crafting a coherent argument. Governor Perry also needs to put real conviction behind his words and better articulate the substance of his policy positions- he sometimes seems to fumble for the right words at critical moments during debates. And finally, Perry had better restore his standing in the early primary states where he lost significant support- South Carolina, Iowa, and especially Florida. I await my seat on the bus tour.
So while there is still hope for Governor Perry, time is of the essence if he is to restore the confidence of the people who initially supported his candidacy back in August.