An earlier post noted Mitt Romney's big lead in New Hampshire over the rest of the Republican field. But it's only fair to note that a new Quinnipiac University poll gives Texas Gov. Rick Perry relatively good news in Florida.
That poll shows Perry with a six percentage point lead, 28 percent to Romney's 22 percent. And Perry's lead expands to 31 percent to 22 percent if Sarah Palin's name is dropped from the choices given voters. In a two-man race, Perry leads by eight points.
What makes this such positive news for Perry is that in a state where he might be expected to be deeply wounded by likening Social Security to a Ponzi scheme, that hasn't appeared to happen.
In fact, the pollsters found that among Republicans, 52 percent agreed with Perry's description of the iconic entitlement program for the elderly and disabled.
That differed greatly from Florida voters generally who disapproved of that characterization by nearly two to one, 58 percent to 33 percent.
That was one indication that Romney would be the better general election candidate in the state.
The head-to-head questions that pitted President Obama against Perry or Romney were additional indicators.
In an Obama-Romney race, the former Massachusetts governor led the president 47 percent to 42 percent. If Perry is the Republican nominee, the race is within the margin of error, with Obama and Perry in a statistical dead heat with the president at 44 percent and Perry at 42 percent.
Meanwhile, my NPR colleague Liz Halloran takes a good look at why Florida will remain a major focus of the candidates as we get deeper into the primary campaign season.