Despite Debate Showdown Over Social Security, Perry Still Leads In Florida

Obviously, Florida has a large elderly population of retirees. For that reason, the Social Security is a particularly prickly issue there. So conventional wisdom would dictate that, after Perry was called to the mat not just by Democrats but by fellow Republicans over his comments about the gigantic entitlement program being a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie” he’d be hurt in the polls in that swing state.

But so far, that hasn’t been the case. In a poll taken the day after the debate last week, Governor Rick Perry still enjoys a nine point lead over second place Mitt Romney.

The poll, conducted by Insider Advantage for the Florida Times-Union, shows Perry leading the field with 29 percent support. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney comes in second with 20 percent support. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is a distant third with 9 percent. Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann has 8 percent support, businessman Herman Cain has 6 percent, and Texas Rep. Ron Paul has 5 percent. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum garners 2 percent support, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman rounds out the field with just over 1 percent. ….

The poll was conducted the day after the Republican candidates debated in Tampa, Fla. Perry came under heavy fire at the debate from his GOP rivals, who hit went after him over his comments about Social Security, illegal immigration and his effort to require that young girls in Texas be vaccinated against the cancer-causing human papillomavirus. However, the poll indicates that the criticism hasn’t prevented the Texas governor from establishing himself as the front-runner in a state that could be crucial, if not decisive, in the GOP presidential race.

Ed Morrissey notes that this is actually a larger lead for Perry over the last credible poll done in the state, which showed the Texas Governor with a seven point lead over Romney. It wouldn’t be fair to say that Perry got a bump, two points could just be polling static and we’re talking about polls from two different sources, but one conclusion we can draw is that Perry isn’t being hurt by his Social Security talk.

That, I’ve got to say, is refreshing at a time when usually any perceived threat to the entitlements no matter how in jeopardy entitlement programs may be is usually political kryptonite.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Bat One

    Obviously, America’s senior citizens aren’t the mind-numbed, self-centered, me-first witlings that Democrats mistakenly thought them to be.  Just because a person is drawing Social Security and registered for Medicare – as required by federal law – doesn’t mean that they don’t recognize that both are essentially Ponzi schemes, just as Governor Perry described them.

    • HG

      Exactly.  They’re a hell of a lot better people than liberals would like them to be.

      • Goon

        I think this means the Seniors in Florida know the Dems aren’t getting it.

        • HG

          Sounds like that’s the case.

  • HG

    Most of the elderly folks I know care about thier children and grandchildren’s future and have remarkable financial integrity.  They see their loved one’s struggling in the Obama economy and the risks to their children’s retirement.  Very few that are democrats are liberals especially in Florida.

  • SigFan

    The demographics have changed.  The “elderly” of today are not my parents and grandparents generation, those that were spoonfed the FDR poison.  Yes, those of us at or near retirement now are pissed that we’ve been bilked out of all the money that we’ve paid in, but we are also so much better informed and aware than prior generations and realize that things cannot continue as they are.  The people (or enough of them) are smart enough to see through the liberal BS now, and the Democrats are going to go down on this and the many other lies they’ve been feeding the public for years.

  • Sparks

    GOP THEN:  We made an awful mistake with Bush, even though we ferociously defended him and threw around all sorts of accusations about treason, who’s a patriot, and who’s a terrorist appeaser.

    GOP NOW:  We have now found another Texan who we like for parallel reasons, who is equally unhinged, who will make the exact same mistakes, and who is already a double-talker.  He has totalitarian religious asshat tattooed on his forehead and, conspicuously, we all have forgotten about the constitution and/or slipped back into the scarey doubletalking about the constitution we did all the time when Bush Jr was in office.

    Seriously, do you folks now think that Bush Sr, too, was a Stalinist?

    • robert108

      When you realize that the alternative to President Bush was the idiot Al Gore, President Bush was the best deal for America, by far.

      • realitybasedbob

        When you realize what a hole bush/gop left the country in, Gore looks like a genius.

        • GDA

          When Clinton/Gore left the White House, the tech bubble was already bursting and the economy had to slowly straighten out those excesses.  Currently, our economically illiterate President does not know what he is doing so instead of letting free markets clear out the debt excesses, he keeps piling it on.  When this bubble goes, it will be very nasty.

  • Alexander

    Reminds me of the origins of the Republican party. They were the first and only party at that time who took an official stand on the ‘third rail’ of their day, slavery, to which they were opposed to. They quickly went from a small group of activists to winning the Presidency.

  • WOOF

    These are Republicans who were polled.
     40% have no opinion as to candidate in the Florida Republican Presidential primary.

  • mickey_moussaoui

    Symbolism is huge in politics. In this corner we have Perry… strong, confident, rides hard-shoots straight, plays by the rules, has conviction, is proud of America, a proven leader…

    In the other corner we have a lying limp weasel, racist demagog, Marxist/socialist, anti constitutional, business hating, two faced, contempt for America wannabe dictator…

    NOBAMA 2012