Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he was running for president on Saturday but Colorado Republicans have been eagerly looking forward to the news, according to Public Policy Polling. Perry tied long-running candidate Mitt Romney for the top spot among Colorado GOP voters surveyed by PPP the first week of August. Perry polled way out in front of controversial Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who won a much-watched Iowa straw poll last week, rivaling Romney’s status as front runner.
“Rick Perry’s only been in the presidential race for two days but based on our most recent round of state polling he’s already close to deserving co-front runner status,” wrote PPP Director Tom Jensen in a release. “We found him tied for the lead last week among Republican voters in both Colorado and North Carolina, two very different states and also two that are a long way from Texas.”
Perry and and Romney each polled 20 percent in Colorado. Bachmann garnered only 12 percent support.
Perry holds what many are calling anti-democratic Christianist views, the same views espoused by Bachmann, where a certain kind of fundamentalist Christian is meant to assume positions of power in politics, arts and entertainment with an eye toward “reclaiming the land for Jesus Christ.”
Mitt Romney is Mormon and analysts have suggested evangelical GOP primary voters will not vote for him for that reason. Analysts have also warned that strong Christian-identifying candidates like Bachmann and Perry will trade on that religious bias to defeat Romney.
Perry solidified his Christian credentials well before he announced his candidacy. With controversial Christian groups as allies, Perry led a mass evangelical prayer and fasting event in Houston this month. Participants asked Jesus to forgive the sins of the nation and to guide the country out of economic recession.
Lightning-rod Bush-era GOP strategist Karl Rove made headlines today by telling Fox News he feared this year’s Republican candidates might campaign so far to the right during primary season that, like high-profile Tea Party candidates last year, mainstream general election voters would turn away in droves.
That’s perhaps especially a risk in Colorado, where the percentage of unaffiliated independent voters has now solidly overtaken the percentage of registered Republicans in the state. They defected from major Tea Party candidates in last year’s historic “Republican wave” midterm election and sent Democrats to the U.S. Senate and the governor’s office.
PPP surveyed 314 usual Colorado Republican primary voters August 4th to August 7th and reported a +/- 5.5 percent margin of error.