Gallup: Perry Leads, Bachmann Falls, Paul Rising

Photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images

Behold, Republicans: Your new presidential frontrunner! The new national Gallup poll* gives Rick Perry a 12-point lead over Mitt Romney, putting him at 29 percent – a bigger chunk of the vote than Romney ever commanded in his long-distance frontrunner campaign.

The trends since July:

Rick Perry - 29% (+11)
Mitt Romney - 17% (-6)
Ron Paul - 13% (+3)
Michele Bachmann - 10% (-3)
Herman Cain - 4% (+0)
Newt Gingrich - 4% (-2)
Rick Santorum - 3% (-1)
Jon Huntsman - 1% (-1)

The most-covered non-Perry candidates, Bachmann and Huntsman, both lost support. Bachmann lost around a fifth of her support after she won Ames. But I doubt the media has much to do with this. There is a Tea Party conservative vote, and Perry has swooped in to take it from Bachmann. He grabs 33% of it; she has 12%. He gets 34% of weekly churchgoers; she has 9%. He even leads Bachmann in the Midwest, where she trails Ron Paul, too. The best thing Perry has going for him – the problem Romney was always going to have – is his Southern base. He leads Romney by the margin of error in every region of the country except for the South, where he leads 39-12.

So, call it: The Bachmann surge is over. Meanwhile, Paul keeps raising the estimate for how big his “ceiling” is. He’s at 18 percent in the Midwest.

*Inevitable disclaimer: National polls don’t matter right now.