UPDATE: Note to readers:  Below, I wrote, “I don’t see any mystery in these results. Romney figured to gain after Perry’s lackluster performance in the Tampa debate.” In fact, the poll was taken during the period Sept. 9-12, BEFORE the debate. So Perry’s performance in the Tampa debate had no effect on the poll. No other candidate reached 10% in the poll: Bachmann 9% Palin 8% Paul 8% Cain 4% Gingrich 4% Santorum 2% Huntsman 1% Poll details: –Conducted Sep 9-12 for Bloomberg News by Selzer & Co. of Des Moines, IA –Interviews with 997 U.S. adults ages 18 or older. Some questions included an oversample of 205 self-identified Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. –Interviewers contacted households with randomly selected landline and cell phone telephone numbers. –Percentages based on the full sample may have a maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3.1%

Perry 32% favorable, 41% unfavorable, 25%+ no opinion

Rick Perry Supported By Republicans in Poll

Perry leads in the primary contest in part because some of his most famous stands don’t turn off the primary electorate all that much,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “In the general election, these issues will matter more.“SOCIAL SECURITY IS A PONZI SCHEME” All Respondents: Agree 46%, Disagree 50% Republicans: Agree 65%. Disagree 33% Independent voters: “nearly equally split” GLOBAL WARMING NOT “SETTLED SCIENCE” 45% less likely to support 25% more likely to support EVOLUTION IS AN UNPROVEN THEORY Less likely to support: 50% More likely to support:  20% TEA PARTY SUPPORTERS Perry 31% Romney 21% “BORN AGAIN” Perry 29% Romney 15% I don’t see any mystery in these results. Romney figured to gain after Perry’s lackluster performance in the Tampa debate. The poll corroborates that Perry’s most extreme views are anathema to many voters. This provides Romney with an opening to argue that Perry is unelectable in a head-to-head matchup with Obama. Perry’s overheated view of Social Security, however, is in line with that of most Americans.

Of course, Social Security is not, strictly speaking, a Ponzi scheme. In a Ponzi scheme, the recipients of the money are a finite group, and the fund manager keeps shifting the pool of money around among them. The difference in Social Security is that there is another player in the game beside the schemer and his victims. That is the government. Congress can reform social security any time it wants to, to make it solvent. It can raise the retirement age, it can means-test, it can raise the tax to bring in more money. This is what happened in 1986, when Reagan was president and the American political system still functioned. They fixed it. Today’s politicians could fix it too, but they see more benefit in finger-pointing and blame-casting. Rick Perry doesn’t want to fix it. He wants to turn over responsibility for it to the states. You know what Texas will do: cut it.