“I think he can win in New Hampshire, and I think in the end he will win,” Humphrey said of Perry, adding that he hasn’t seen this level of excitement for a candidate here since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign…

A significant gauge of Perry’s strength will come later this month when the latest WMUR/University of New Hampshire poll — the most closely watched survey in the state — is released. Perry registered just 4 percent in the last WMUR/UNH poll conducted in late June, which was released more than a month before he announced his candidacy. But several New Hampshire political observers said that they expect him to show tremendous progress, noting that Michele Bachmann has essentially abandoned the state, and Jon Huntsman has struggled to gain any traction here…

With longtime New Hampshire resident Dave Carney calling the shots as Perry’s chief national strategist, the Texan has an especially prominent window into the Granite State. And the urge to compete vigorously in the terrain he knows best might be difficult for Carney to resist.

“Carney knows this state frontwards and backwards, and to some extent, this may be personal for him,” New Hampshire Institute of Politics senior fellow Patrick Griffin said. “Despite the fact that he’s been a national guy since Bush Sr., Carney is a guy who lives here for a reason. I think they understand this state is retail politics. My sense is Perry will play here. He’s the flavor of the month right now, and the question now is whether anything, including himself, slows him down.”