According to the poll, 28 percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP said they support Perry as their party's nominee, while former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney came in second with 21 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich had ten percent, while Congressman Ron Paul, former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin all had seven percent support. When Palin, who is not officially in the race, was removed from the poll's question, the numbers were similar: Perry had 30 percent, Romney had 22 percent and Gingrich had 11 percent.
The poll was conducted after two Republican debates in which Perry's performances were considered disappointing.
"Did Perry's performance in the most recent debate affect the horse race? Maybe yes, but maybe no," CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. "Perry's support is down just two points, and Romney is up only one to three points - and since all those numbers are well within the sampling error, it doesn't look like much has changed, possibly because average voters aren't as plugged into the debates as political junkies are. If the debates have had an effect, it may be mostly in favor of Gingrich, whose support went from 5 percent in mid-September to 10 percent now."
But the poll also contained some good news for Romney, who fared best in a head-to-head match up with President Barack Obama. Registered voters asked to choose between Obama and Romney were split 49 percent to 48 percent in favor of the president. Against Perry, Obama leads 51 percent to 46 percent.
CNN cautions that "polls taken more than a year before the election have little or no predictive value."
The telephone survey was conducted from September 23 to 25, with 1,010 adult Americans, including 447 Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP.