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It's the biggest week yet this year for GOP hopefuls, and as Republicans gear up for this weekend's events, a new election poll offers some interesting insights into the latest views from likely American voters.
With many anxiously awaiting Rick Perry's announcement on Saturday, according to the latest CNN/ORC International 2012 poll, the Texas Governor is about to give Mitt Romney a serious run for his money:
15 percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP pick [the Texas Governor[ as their first choice for their party's nomination, just two points behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who's making his second bid for the White House. Romney's two point margin over Perry is within the survey's sampling error.
Interestingly however, as Perry and Romney appear to lead the pack among Republicans, when it comes to registered voters in general, President Obama's biggest competition actually comes from someone who isn't even running.
According to the latest 2012 poll results:
Giuliani has a 51-45 percent advantage over Obama among registered voters, while Romney matches up evenly against the President - 49 percent for Obama and 48 percent for Romney. But the survey indicates Obama appears to have a slight edge over Bachmann (51-45 percent) and Perry (51-46 percent) and Obama has a lead over Palin (55-41 percent).
With a number of GOP candidates taking the stage tonight for the Iowa debate ahead of this Saturday's straw poll, it will be interesting to see if (and how) voters' preferences may change as the race for the GOP nomination continues to gain steam.
The full analysis from the latest CNN/ORC International survey is available to view here.