Even though Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) hasn't yet tossed his hat into the 2012 presidential ring, a new poll shows he's favored over almost every GOP contender -- including established candidates.
According to the latest National Journal Political Insiders Poll, Perry is the second most popular choice to get the Republican nomination. Former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney was the top pick.
"If and when Perry gets in he will shoot to the top as he can draw from the tea party and establishment voters," said one GOP Insider. "He has more juice than Bachmann and is viewed as more authentic than Romney."
Even Democratic insiders think Perry is a strong nominee. A poll released Thursday shows they picked Romney as the strongest opponent with the Texas governor again coming in second.
"He's a Tea Partier with governing credentials," another GOP insider said of Perry. "That's a tough combo to beat, in a primary anyway."