Republican “insiders” are wary of Rick Perry’s ability to win, according to a survey by National Journal, picking Mitt Romney by a wide margin as the more electable candidate.
The poll, which regularly checks in with a pool of Republican and Democratic strategists, finds both parties in agreement that Romney is the superior candidate. Republicans think the GOP would be better off nominating him by a 69% to 31% margin. That number is even higher among Democratic insiders, 83% of whom see Romney as the better bet versus 17% for Perry.
Unnamed insiders from both parties cited questions about Perry’s ability to win over independents given his resume as a hardline conservative, red-state governor. “Perry can fire up the base, but this election will be won in the middle, not on the fringes,” one Republican said.
Given his recent appeals to the Tea Party, winning a poll of veteran Republican politicos may not be the most exciting achievement for Romney. And given that Perry is amassing a solid lead in national polls and surging in a number of early primary and caucus states, it may not be the most representative slice of GOP opinion either. A recent PPP poll of South Carolina, for example, showed Perry cleaning up not only with the conservative, Tea Party wing of the GOP, but with more moderate Republicans that should in theory be Romney’s base.