AUSTIN (KXAN) - Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry would be a formidable opponent next year to Democratic President Barack Obama, two polls released Tuesday show.
The Gallup Poll shows Perry in a dead-heat with the president, with each favored by 47 percent of those surveyed. In the latest Public Policy Polling survey, Obama has a reasonably comfortable 49-43 percent lead over Perry.
Gallup described Perry's showing as somewhat surprisingly strong, considering he's only been in the race less than two weeks. But the organization also said that the Texan is benefitting from the fact that he's still a largely unknown quantity in the eyes of the nation at large.
Once Perry's opponents, and the national media, focus attention on Perry, the numbers could change, the organization said.
"With that exposure comes the inevitable media scrutiny regarding his issue positions, personal qualities, and record for a broader audience, many of whom may not view them positively," Gallup said
Gallup shows that Obama is closely matched against each of four possible Republican opponents when registered voters are asked whom they would support if the 2012 presidential election were held today.
Mitt Romney leads Obama by 2 percentage points, 48-46. Obama edges out Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann by 2 and 4 percentage points, respectively.
Gallup also notes that polling numbers more than a year away from an election are sometimes poor indicators of where the public will be when it's actually time to cast ballots.
In August 1999, then-Gov. George W. Bush led the-Vice President Al Gore 55-41 in a Gallup poll. One Election Day 2000, Gore actually won the popular vote by a razor-thin margin.
Four years before Gallup's hypothetical Bush-Gore matchup, U.S. Sen. Bob Dole was polling slightly ahead of President Bill Clinton in a Gallup poll, 48-46. On Election Day 1996, Clinton won by a comfortable 8 points.
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