Fox News Poll: Romney Remains Top GOP Preference as Texas Governor Rick Perry Draws Close Behind

Pawlenty and Santorum way down in this poll
While former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney remains the preferred 2012 Republican presidential nominee, three rivals are close behind -- including two who haven’t announced they are running.

In a Fox News poll released Wednesday, Romney received the backing of 18 percent of GOP primary voters. He’s followed by Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 13 percent, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann at 11 percent and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani at 10 percent. Perry and Giuliani have not declared their candidacies

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, also undeclared, is now in single digits at 8 percent support, and Texas Congressman Ron Paul garners the support of 7 percent.

All other candidates receive the support of 5 percent or less.

Romney officially announced his run on June 2, and Bachmann announced that she had filed the paperwork to run during a Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire on June 13.

In the new poll, Romney’s support dropped 5 percentage points from 23 percent in early June. Since then, Bachmann’s support almost tripled from 4 percent to 11 percent, while Palin’s support dropped 4 points. Perry makes his Fox News poll debut very near the top of the field.

Palin supporters splinter when asked their second choice, with many undecided. Without Palin in the race, Romney increases his edge by 2 points, and Perry, Bachmann and Giuliani all gain 1 point each.

If Perry decides not to run, Bachmann gets a 5-point bump and Romney gains 2 points
GOP 2012
Romney 18%
Perry 13%
Bachmann 11%
Giuliani 10%
Palin 8%
Paul 7%
Cain 5%
Pawlenty 3%
Gingrich 3%
Huntsman 3%
Santorum 2%