Monday, Oct. 24, 2011 | 9:58 a.m.
A new poll this morning indicates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has solidified his lead in Nevada—the state he won four years ago after being the only candidate to fund a major campaign organization in the state.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, once believed to be Romney’s chief rival for the GOP nomination, has fallen to a distant fifth place in the pack of presidential hopefuls, an indication the much sought after endorsement from Gov. Brian Sandoval has failed to work much magic.
In the Magellan Strategies survey of 673 Nevada Republican voters, Romney held a 12-point lead over former pizza company executive Herman Cain, 38 percent to 26 percent. Former U.S. Rep. Newt Gingrich came in third with 16 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Ron Paul with 7 percent.
Perry came in fifth with just 5 percent, followed by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann with 2 percent and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman each with 1 percent.
Romney has increased his lead in Nevada by 14 points, according to the poll. But he continues to struggle with voters who did not participate in the caucuses four years ago and those who identify themselves as Tea Party members.
“We consider the latter two populations “Sharron Angle” voters and if Mitt Romney can remain competitive among these two groups, he will be in a strong position to win,” the pollster wrote.
Gingrich lead Romney by 2 points among Tea Party voters, who made up 44 percent of the sample. Gingrich also had the highest favorability rating among Nevada Tea Party voters.
Perry has failed to gain traction with Nevada Tea Party members, with only 29 percent having a favorable view of him.
Paul, the outsider candidate who stirred up a passionate outsider following four years ago, also has an upside down approval rating with Tea Party voters in Nevada, according to the poll.