Texas Gov. Rick Perry's popularity has risen dramatically enough that he is now the frontrunner for the Republican Party's 2012 nomination for the presidency, according to recent polling numbers.


Perry, who officially announced his candidacy August 13, has put a double-digit margin between himself and Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who previously led the polls.

A Gallup poll of the Republican contenders released Wednesday shows that 29 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters said Perry was their preferred nominee, while Romney garnered 17 percent. This is flipped from last month: Gallup's results from the end of July show that Perry, before he had officially announced, was polling at 18 percent to Romney's 23 percent.

Another poll, from the Democrat-affiliated Public Policy Polling, shows Perry a slightly more dramatic lead for Perry. In the first poll since his entry into the race, Perry captured the preference of 33 percent of voters— a third of those surveyed — to Romney's 20 percent.

In a PPP poll five weeks ago, Perry was polling at 12 percent. Should Perry end up the Republican Party's nominee, PPP sees him losing to President Barack Obama by about six points, approximately the same margin Obama beat John McCain by to win election to his first term.