Ten reasons why Perry's not the frontrunner -- yet

3. Although Romney 2012 has many flaws and vulnerabilities, he is an improved candidate from Romney 2008. Thus far, he has shown an unexpected resilience and staying power. He is not to be underestimated.

4. Romney’s years on the presidential campaign trail mean that he has built impressive campaign structures in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. Perry could catch up but we don’t yet have an indication that he will.

5. The calendar could work for Perry but it could also work against him. Michele Bachmann is clearly strong in Iowa. If she beats Perry there (as Team Romney dearly hopes) then he would be weakened before New Hampshire, where Texans often do not play well (Bush lost to McCain there in 2000 by 19 points) and Romney holds some advantages. Perry certainly looks to be in pole position in South Carolina but going there with two losses would present him with an uphill struggle. Of course, an Iowa blow-out for Perry would radically change the picture – but it’s too early to gauge how possible that is (though this PPP poll is encouraging).

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