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Perry still leading GOP pack, says new poll

Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, gestures as Texas Gov. Rick Perry watches during a Republican debate Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in Tampa, Fla. Mike Carlson

Despite what many believed to be a set of lackluster performances by Rick Perry in two recent GOP presidential debates, voters still favor him over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, according to a new poll by CNN/ORC International.

According to the poll, Perry leads Romney by 28 percent to 21 percent support, a gap slightly narrowed since a Sept. 11 poll, which showed Perry leading Romney 30 to 18 percent. Nevertheless, the Texas governor's seven point lead over Romney suggests that, despite a slew of less-than-stellar performance reviews recently touted in the national press, he is still the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

When it comes to a matchup against Mr. Obama, however, Romney appears to invite a much more competitive race. Asked about their preferences in an Obama-Perry general election competition, 51 percent of registered voters said they would opt for Mr. Obama, while 46 percent said they would vote for Perry. In a hypothetical Obama-Romney contest, Mr. Obama led Romney by just one point, 49 percent to Romney's 48 percent.

Registered voters appeared more in line with Romney on the issues, as well. About 49 percent of registered voters said they agreed with the former Massachusetts governor on the issues that mattered most, while about 42 percent said the same of Perry.

According to the poll, only 45 percent of voters approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing as president, while 52 percent disapprove.

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