Rick Perry is up and Mitt Romney is down.
According to a two new polls — Gallup and PPP — Rick Perry holds a commanding double-digit lead over Romney in the race for the GOP presidential nomination.
Yet, Romney may still have the upper hand according to Politico's Alexander Burns and New York Times' Ross Douthat.
"If Romney isn't yet breaking glass in case of emergency, he has a few good reasons and they're called New Hampshire, Nevada, Florida and Michigan," said Burns in a post titled, "Mitt Romney's early-state firewall." "No matter how strong Perry's national lead looks right now, Romney has a strong foothold in several early primary states that could allow him to hold back the momentum Perry's picking up nationally."
Burns went on to cite the latest New Hampshire poll, which has Romney up by 18 percentage points, and a Mason-Dixon poll that has Romney up by 7 points in Florida. He said Romney has a strong advantage in early primary states like Nevada — a state which he won in 2008 — and Michigan, where Romney's father was thrice elected governor.
The New York Times' Ross Douthat expressed similar sentiments in a piece titled, "Don't Panic, Mitt Romney!"
"He's the most electable guy in the field, and he's probably going to be the default choice for an establishment that can live with him even if it doesn't love him." Douthat wrote with regard to Romney. "Obviously, he would have preferred to occupy this position while facing off against a fringe candidate like Bachmann, rather than the much more potent Perry. With the Texan in the race, Romney is looking at a long drawn-out battle for the nomination, rather than a swift and easy coronation. But it's the race he wanted, so there's no reason for him to start panicking just yet."