Rick Perry had nearly “rock star” status among conservative Republicans a month ago, with familiarity his biggest hurdle. But as the Texas governor has become better known, he has become more unpopular, with the number of conservative Republicans holding “unfavorable” views of Perry more than tripling, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The new findings echo Perry’s slippage in polling of the GOP presidential contest and highlight a central challenge for his campaign, which had found early resonance with the party’s more conservative wing.
In a separate Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday asking what single word came to mind for the three candidates, “9-9-9” topped the list for Herman Cain, “Texas” for Perry and “Mormon” for Mitt Romney.
Americans overall in the new Post-ABC poll offer mixed reviews of three top contenders to challenge President Obama, with many still reserving judgment on Perry, Romney and Cain. But negative ratings for Romney and Perry — both better known — have ticked up in the past month, now approaching four in 10; just over one in four has a negative opinion of Cain.
Cain, who has skyrocketed into the top tier in GOP polls, claims he would be able to compete with Obama for black voters. But only 18 percent of African Americans in the new poll rate him favorably, with twice as many — 37 percent — giving him negative marks. Cain does have a better ratio of favorable to unfavorable ratings than either Perry (49 percent unfavorable, 15 percent favorable) or Romney (50 to 15), but trails Obama by large margins. In a September Post-ABC poll, 86 percent of African Americans rated Obama favorably, although at the time there was slippage in the number giving the president “strongly favorable” reviews.
But for the GOP primary, most of the action has been among conservative Republicans, particularly those associated with the tea party political movement. A month ago, 55 percent of all conservative Republicans held favorable views of Perry, compared with just 7 percent with negative ones. But the picture has changed dramatically: His favorable number is unchanged, but the number with unfavorable views has leaped to 26 percent.