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Charles Krupa, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry gestures as he addresses townspeople during a campaign stop in Derry, N.H., Friday, Sept. 30, 2011.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Republican voters in early primary states are increasingly putting a premium on a candidate's chances in the general election and looking past flaws to find one.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, some Republican activists have abandoned their support for candidates who meet the checklist of issue positions but are viewed as having little chance of winning against the well-funded President Barack Obama.

The economy is refueling hope of beating Obama but some Republicans say the party would err if the nomination campaign becomes a purity test.

That's good news for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who are engaged in a battle for electability.

It's bad news for Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain and Rick Santorum, who stir conservatives but have little following in national polls.