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The Brief: Dec. 7, 2011

Rick Perry's poll numbers remain stagnant, but in new internal data, his campaign may see reason for hope.

Gov. Rick Perry delivers a campaign speech to a crowd in Orange City, Iowa, on Oct. 8, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

Rick Perry's poll numbers remain stagnant, but in new internal data, his campaign may see reason for hope.

Newsmax, the conservative magazine and website, reported late Tuesday that new polling data prepared for the Perry campaign shows that the governor could perform better in next month's crucial Iowa caucuses than polls (and pundits) have presaged.

The polling, conducted by the Austin firm Baselice & Associates Inc. over the weekend and provided to Newsmax by "a source close within the campaign," shows Perry in third place in Iowa at 13 percent, behind Newt Gingrich, at 29 percent, and Mitt Romney, at 19 percent.

A series of recent polls have similarly shown Perry in third or fourth place in Iowa, with 9 to 11 percent of the vote (though a Des Moines Register poll recently put him at a more distressing 6 percent).

But a closer look at the internal data, as Newsmax notes, shows that Perry’s “strongly positive” rating has risen 6 points since the firm polled the state three weeks ago. Sixty-seven percent of likely caucus-goers, and 78 percent of Tea Party members, view the governor positively; 71 percent view him favorably after having viewed one of his ads. 

Seventy-one percent of undecided voters also view Perry favorably — a number that could prove especially important, given that 67 percent of respondents, and 75 percent of those favoring Gingrich, said they could change their minds.

Unfortunately for Perry, as Nate Silver of The New York Times' FiveThirtyEight recently noted, polls conducted a month out from the caucuses have generally proven reliable at predicting final results.

But the race remains fluid, and news of the polling data comes as Politico reports that the Perry campaign has bought $1 million in TV ads ahead of the Jan. 3 caucuses. "A heavy buy in Iowa for a week's TV time can be bought for less than half that sum, meaning Perry will be reaching a zone-flooding level in a final bid to boost his poll numbers," Politico's Maggie Haberman writes.

Culled:

  • Rick Perry on Tuesday lashed out against the Obama administration's announcement that the U.S. would use foreign aid to promote gay rights abroad. "Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights. This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop," Perry said in a statement. "Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money."
  • Polls may have deemed Newt Gingrich the latest GOP presidential front-runner, but as the Tribune's Ryan Murphy reports, the former U.S. House speaker has raised only $132,835 in Texas through Sept. 30, amounting to less than 1 percent of the money donated to Republican candidates in the state.
  • In this week's Campaign Roundup: Former state Rep. Tommy Merritt, R-Longview, has said he will challenge Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, in a rematch of the 2010 primary in which Simpson defeated Merritt. And Dallas dentist and horse racing advocate David Alameel, a Democrat, has said he will run for Congress against U.S. Rep. Joe Barton, R-Ennis, whose district has become less Republican since redistricting.

"President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake."Rick Perry in a statement on the Obama administration's decision to actively support gay rights around the world

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