Here is the latest Iowa poll, from the Des Moines Register: Paul 27.5% Gingrich 25.3% Romney 17.5% Perry 11.2% * * * * Perry hit a high water mark of 16% in a previous poll, but since then he has fallen back. No recent poll has Perry higher than fourth place, which is not sufficient to give him momentum coming out Iowa, especially considering how much money Perry has been spending here, on everything from a heavy TV buy to a bus tour to direct mail aimed at evangelicals. (Kronberg had samples in the QR; the work was not impressive.) To do better, Perry needs Romney’s support to collapse. Rick Santorum got the key evangelical endorsements, not Perry. Next up is New Hampshire, where Perry is flirting with 0%. RealClearPolitics‘ average of four recent polls has him at 1.8%. Having bet the farm on Iowa, he now must rely on South Carolina as his firewall–only the firewall doesn’t look very fire proof. Perry is running fifth in the RealClearPolitics average of recent polls, with 5.8%. So considering Perry’s poor showing, a question should be raised about whether Perry can even win the primary in Texas. In October, Azimuth polling, admittedly not one of the biggies in the business, did a poll in Texas that showed Herman Cain leading Perry. Here’s how the poll ranked the top five: Cain 33% Paul 19% Perry 18% Romney 7% Gingrich 5% Since this poll was taken, Cain has dropped out, Paul has moved up, and Gingrich has joined Romney in the top tier. I don’t think it’s a given that Perry will win the Texas primary. He has inflicted a lot of damage on himself. There is precedent for a “favorite son” losing to an outsider: Lloyd Bentsen couldn’t prevent Jimmy Carter from winning the primary in 1976. Depending upon their ability to raise funds, Ron Paul could give Perry a run for his money, and so could Gingrich. And that would be the ultimate insult to the state’s longest serving governor.