Predictions are tricky in a crowded primary field.

Just after the NBC/Politico debate in early September, Politico Playbook author Mike Allen had this to say about Republican presidential contender Rick Perry:

FOR THE ELEVATOR: After last night’s feisty duel at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, GOP nomination is a two-man race between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney — Michele Bachmann had no plan for getting back in the conversation. The debate was a brawl: The press filing tent, usually abuzz with reporters kibitzing and wandering, was SILENT for the first time this cycle, with everyone typing furiously. (Adam Nagourney was rocking, for old times.) Rick Perry is real — not a bubble. He showed huge vulnerabilities with some answers, but will be a ferocious and durable competitor. If I’m Mitt Romney, I wonder if my team should spend millions, IMMEDIATELY, defining this guy before he can define himself. If I’m Rick Perry, I need to work on my answers on Social Security and climate change, but should give the same answer on executions in every debate. If I’m President Obama, I’d rather run against Rick Perry, but realize that either could take my job.

Now, a month later, Gallup has something to say about that durability question. As in, Perry is tanking. The guy’s so-called “positive intensity score” has dropped over the past month from 25 to 7, while Herman Cain’s has seen a comparable change in the opposite direction.

So, time for a clarification/correction/retraction here?

When I put that question to Allen over e-mail, he responded:

thanks for your note. from headline of today’s playbook: JMART: BAD DEBATE TONIGHT COULD BE TERMINAL FOR PERRY