Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011 | 10:35 a.m.
Public Policy Polling is out today with one of the first early presidential primary polls in Nevada, showing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leading the early Republican pack.
The numbers aren’t much of a surprise. Romney was the only candidate to build a campaign organization in Nevada in 2008. He still has a strong following of invested supporters.
Interestingly, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin trails him by 13 percentage points, dispelling some of the notion that Nevada is a strong tea party state. Palin is seen as incredibly popular with the Republican base in Nevada, but not necessarily as a presidential candidate.
Romney leads Palin 31 percent to 19 percent. Newt Gingrich is in a close third with 18 percent and Mike Huckabee has 14 percent.
Romney’s strong lead has some strategists speculating that the other candidates will skip Nevada’s early primary in favor of building organizations in South Carolina or important Super Tuesday states.
But, again, it’s early.
Romney has a head start and his Nevada political operatives tell me he will likely compete strongly here again if he decides to get into the race. That doesn’t mean any of the other contenders couldn’t build their own organizations to give Romney a strong run.
And if anything is a given in presidential primaries, it’s that much can happen to completely change the dynamics of the race multiple times before caucus day.