In Iowa, Rick Perry Is Stuck in the Second Tier
Every candidate has a lot on the line in the Iowa caucus on Tuesday, but perhaps none more than Gov. Rick Perry of Texas.
With a strong finish in the caucuses, Mr. Perry could re-emerge as a top-tier candidate — perhaps the best-equipped to compete with Mitt Romney, the presumed frontrunner, on a state-by-state basis. With a poor finish, Mr. Perry might face pressure to drop out of the race as Senator Phil Gramm of Texas did in 1996 after a disappointing fifth place finish in the Iowa caucuses.
Mr. Perry has been consistently projected to win about 12 percent of the vote in our polling-based forecasts of the caucuses, without having much sustained movement upward or downward.
But for those looking for a glimmer of hope in Mr. Perry’s numbers, I was able to identify one. Mr. Perry was fairly often named as a second-place choice in a Des Moines Register poll released on Saturday. His campaign may have some hope of converting those second-place votes into first-place votes because it has a large number of precinct leaders, who under Iowa caucus rules are allowed to make a speech in favor of their candidate before the voting takes place.