The latest early state primary/caucus polling raises serious questions about Perry’s ability to get the conservative base behind him. In the early-state CNN/Opinion Research polls last week (Iowa, Florida, South Carolina, New Hampshire), Perry hardly performed any better with self-identified conservatives than he did with Republican moderates and liberals. Romney outperforms him among Tea Partiers as well as non-Tea Partiers.
In a Southern state like South Carolina that should be one of his strongest, Perry is only polling at 11 percent, in fourth place, and not showing any particular strength among any demographic subgroup. That’s a major red flag that suggests his problems run deep.
There have been plenty of deep-pocketed candidates who have failed to gain any traction because their message isn’t resonating (including another Texan, former Sen. Phil Gramm, in 1996). Perry’s offbeat performance in New Hampshire last Friday isn’t likely to help matters any.
Message, not money, is what will give Perry momentum – and there’s little sign that his message is resonating.