Influential Republicans in New Hampshire and two other early-voting states have a generally positive impression of Rick Perry and think the Texas governor stands a good chance of unseating President Barack Obama.
According to a survey of GOP leaders in New Hampshire and two other early-voting states, 58 percent of the 159 people responding used positive terms when asked to describe Perry in one word. The most frequent words were "leader," "impressive," "decisive," "charismatic," "confident, "electable" and "winner."
Less than a quarter of the responses (24 percent) were negative, including "slick," "fake" and "arrogant." Another 17 percent used neutral or descriptive terms, and 1 percent were unsure or did not answer.
The Patch-Huffington Post Power Outsiders poll of Republican voters in New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina was conducted prior to in California, Perry's first as a presidential candidate.
Those polled said they were impressed with Perry in three specific areas. Three out of four describe Perry as someone who takes stands they agree with (75 percent), is ready to be president (77 percent) and can beat Obama in the general election (76 percent). Only a small handful (14 percent on each of the three questions) say these phrases do not describe Perry well.
"I think Rick Perry would make a fine president," said one influential New Hampshire Republican. "He has shown good leadership and the ability to work with a mixed house in Austin. I think Perry CAN beat Obama, but factors that will drive that are the economy (unemployment, fuel costs, etc.), as it is Obama’s race to lose."
Another GOP insider said comparisons to former President George W. Bush could hurt Perry.
"I'm pretty sure folks will not want to go back to another Bush presidency in Perry. Bush was a disaster, followed by a bigger disaster. We cannot keep up this trend if our nation is to survive."
Each week, our local Patch editors will be asking influential New Hampshire Republicans questions about the presidential campaign, and we'll report the results here.
We’re still looking to expand our list of influential members of both parties in New Hampshire. If you’d like to participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll connect you with the appropriate Patch reporter.