Perry's poll numbers are disappointing, and troubling. Yes, he had a very good debate on Saturday, and he has one more chance this week with the FOX debate, but he faces an uphill battle for the nomination. However, there is a very viable pathway to victory for the Texan.
Let's look at four fairly consistent poll results:
1. After the bottom dropped out of his campaign, Perry's stabilized at between 5-10% in various polls.
2. About 1/3 of likely GOP voters have yet to decide on a candidate,'
3. More than 50% of likely GOP voters say that they woudl have no problem switching their support to another candidate. IOW, lots of support is "soft" across the board,
4. Cain ( before he dropped out), Bachmann and Santorum were COMBINED polling between 25-30%. This is the core of the evangelical vote.
Perry will likely come in anywheres from 4th to 6th in Iowa. NO big deal. Bachmann and Santorum have staked the "raison d'etre" of their campaigns on doing WELL in the Iowa caucus. When they BOTH fail to do so, their campaings are effectively done.
Mitt is, at best, going to manage a narrow plurality in NH and may well lose the Granite state, as his support is imploding. He will be finished after Sourth Carolina. Mitt will NOT stay in the race to the bitter end...it's NOT in his nature to soldier on. He will bail.
Ron Paul will stay in to the end, with his hard core of 10%+ of the vote.
If Perry is able to move the CBS ( Cain/Bachmann/Santorum) voters into his camp, then, after Florida, you may well see the polls like about so:
Newt 50%, Perry 40%, Paul 10%
THIS is the two man race the GOP needs. If Newt can make his case that he is indeed a different person, a changed man, then he may get sufficient evangelical support to put him over the top.
If he fails to make that case, if ther voters decide that they do in fact want someone from outside the Beltway, who will go in there on day one and tear the place apart, then Perry can emerge on top.
Most likely the ticket will be Perry/Newt, or Newt/Perry.
If Perry can close the deal, it's his.