Perry Tops Candidate 'Watch' List: Pew Survey

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No matter how you spell it, Rick Perry was the most visible GOP candidate last week by a long shot, according to the latest Pew Research Center News Interest Index, while, not surprisingly, the topic of most interest in the news was coverage of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

According to the poll, conducted Sept. 8-11, the Texas Governor was identifed by 31% of respondents as the candidate they have heard most about in the news recently, almost three times the next most-noticed candidate, Mitt Romney at 12%. Some of that may be attributable to the attention he drew with his "ponzi scheme" reference to Social Security.

Perry has rocketed up the charts, registering only a 3% score in that category two months ago. Perry and Romney were the only two candidates in double digits, with Michele Bachman a distant third at 7%, down from 23% only three weeks ago coming off her Iowa straw poll victory.

Rounding out the scores in "heard most about" were Sarah Palin, 5%; Donald Trump, 3%; Ron Paul, 2%; Jon Hunstman, 1%, Newt Gingrich, 1%; and Herman Cain, not registering, down from 1%. The biggest number belonged to "don't know" at 37%.

The 9/11 story (27%) topped the economy (23%) as the story respondents were following most closely. A majority (60%) said the coverage was about the right amount.

The survey is based on what is described as a "nationally representative sample of 1,010 adults."

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