This is an unbiased comparison of the political positions of Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, contenders for the Republican nomination for the 2012 presidential election. Romney was the front-runner in the race until Perry declared his candidacy on August 13, 2011. Perry maintained his lead for about six weeks but following a shaky performance in debates, he lost ground and Romney regained his lead. Rick Perry eventually dropped out of the race and endorsed Newt Gingrich.

Comparison chart

Mitt Romney versus Rick Perry comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartMitt RomneyRick Perry
  • current rating is 3.41/5
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(10339 ratings)
  • current rating is 2.87/5
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(69 ratings)
Mitt RomneyRick Perry
Political Party Republican Republican Party (since 1989), Democratic Party (until 1989)
Position on Healthcare Created similar legislation in Mass. but believes it's not appropriate for all of USA and wants to repeal. Proposes encouraging individuals to purchase their own health insurance rather than via employers, and allowing insurance across state lines. Would repeal Barack Obama's 2010 healthcare overhaul
Position on Immigration Would make English the official language of the US and "turn off the magnets like tuition breaks or other breaks that draw people into this country illegally". In favor of promoting legal immigration. Supported offering children of illegal immigrants the same low university tuition rates in Texas as native-born Texans; has suggested using Predator Drones to patrol the US-Mexico border; says a fence along the entire border "doesn't make sense"
Alma Mater Stanford University, Brigham Young University (BA), Harvard University (MBA, JD) Texas A&M University
Full name Willard Mitt Romney James Richard Perry
Profession Businessman, politician, author Military Officer, farmer, politician
Website http://www.mittromney.com rickperry.org, www.governor.state.tx.us
Place of Birth Detroit, Michigan Paint Creek, Texas
Religion Christian (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints a.k.a. Mormon) Christian (evangelical)
Children Tagg (b. 1970), Matt (b. 1971), Josh (b. 1975), Ben (b. 1978), Craig (b. 1981) Griffin, Sydney
Spouse(s) Ann Romney (m. 1969–present) Anita Thigpen
Date of birth March 12, 1947 March 4, 1950
Residence Belmont, Massachusetts West Austin, Texas, (Temporary residence since 2007, during repairs to the Texas Governor's Mansion)
Perry and Romney at the NBC/Politico debate sparring over job creation records of each candidate
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Perry and Romney at the NBC/Politico debate sparring over job creation records of each candidate

Perry and Romney on the issues

Perry and Romney have different campaigning styles and positions. Rick Perry campaigns as an unabashed Southern conservative who speaks bluntly, will double-down on controversial statements and plans to shrug off the concerns of the Republican establishment. His campaign is aimed squarely at the traditional Republican base -- evangelicals, the Tea Party, social conservatives and the GOP's most committed voters. In contrast, Mitt Romney has a political legacy as governor of Massachusetts, a liberal state, because of which he has taken liberal or moderate positions in the past. Romney's campaign strategy is to appeal broadly to the Republican electorate as part of an electability argument that he hopes will convince primary voters that he is best equipped to defeat Barack Obama. [1]

Climate Change (Global Warming)

Rick Perry has claimed he does not "believe" in climate change. He has gone one step further than most in the mainstream climate change denier community on the presidential campaign trail in New Hampshire Wednesday, stating flatly that scientists drum up phony climate change data to make a buck.[2]

Mitt Romney has said that he believes that the world is getting warmer and that humans contribute to global warming, because of which it's important to reduce emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. However, he is against cap-and-trade and favors a change in America's energy sources.[3]

Social Security

Rick Perry has called social security a Ponzi scheme and unconstitutional. In his 2010 book Fed Up! Perry calls Social Security "a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal" and likened it to a "bad disease" that spreads instead of dies. He wants Social Security to be handed over to the states and believes that states should be able to opt out of the program. However, on September 11, Perry toned down his rhetoric in an opinion article he wrote for the USA Today, in which he said "America's goal must be to fix Social Security by making it more financially sound and sustainable for the long term."

Mitt Romney does not favor this approach and has called for "fixing" social security so that the entitlement program stays solvent. His proposals include raising the retirement age by several years, changing the way benefits are indexed to inflation for high-income retirees, and introducing a private option. During the NBC/Politico debate on September 7, 2011, Romney said that "our nominee has to be someone who isn't committed to abolishing Social Security, but who is committed to saving Social Security." In an email to supporters the day after the debate, Romney's campaign called Perry reckless and wrong on social security.[4]

See also: Video debate of Evan Smith (Texas Tribune) and Joshua Trevino (Texas Public Policy Foundation) discussing Social Security policy differences between Rick Perry and Mitt Romney.

Perry vs Romney in Debates

Perry lost his initial lead in opinion polls after shaky performances in a series of debates.

NBC News/Politico Debate, September 7, 2011

The first debate where Rick Perry and Mitt Romney squared off was the NBC News/Politico debate moderated by Brian Williams and held on September 7, 2011. Only a few minutes into the debate, the candidates attacked each other’s records on jobs and the economy. Perry claimed that despite his private sector experience, Romney "had one of the lowest job creation rates" in the country as governor and quipped "we created more jobs in the last three months in Texas." Romney retorted saying that Perry benefited from an external environment in Texas that did not exist in Massachusetts, and that taking credit for the state's job creation "is like Al Gore saying he invented the Internet."

Later in the debate, the two sparred over Social Security, with Perry reiterating claims he has made that the retirement program is a "Ponzi scheme" and a "monstrous lie" to "our kids" because it can’t remain solvent for future generations. Meanwhile, Romney responded that Perry was wrong to suggest that Social Security was failing. "It's been working for millions of Americans and I will keep it working for millions of Americans," Romney said.[5]

Perry also attacked Romney for championing the health care legislation when he was governor of Massachusetts. In turn, Romney cast Perry as a career politician who has spent much of his life in government, and thus lacked the experience in private industry needed to turn the economy around. [6]

Debate Videos

CNN/Tea Party Express Debate, September 12, 2011

Rick Perry came under fire from several of his opponents during the CNN debate in Tampa on September 7. At one point, he was booed by the audience for defending his use of an executive order to mandate young girls be vaccinated against HPV, a virus that causes cervical cancer and is transmitted sexually. He was also booed when he defended Texas' stance on offering in-state tuition to students who have lived there for at least three years and are working toward citizenship.

Romney and Perry attacked each other again on their job creation record in this debate. While Perry boasted about job creation in Texas during his tenure as governor, Romney dismissed his claim citing the favorable conditions in Texas. ""If you're dealt four aces, that doesn't necessarily make you a great poker player," said Romney.

The two candidates also exchanged remarks and barbs about Social Security. While Perry softened his rhetoric against the entitlement program, Romney said that Perry's characterization of Social Security as a Ponzi scheme was "over the top" and "frightful."[7]

Several pundits and critics agreed that Romney was the winner in the debate.[8] The Atlantic opined that Perry has made Romney a better candidate, and that Perry "played the passionate ideological warrior" while Romney "played the cool corporate executive" in their campaign.[9]

Google/Fox News Debate, Sep 22, 2011

Political observers and analysts said that Perry's performance in this debate was shaky because of which he lost supporters, and that Romney "won". Herman Cain and Rick Santorum also performed well in the debate.

Religious controversy

Perry has a "very public religiosity and long history with evangelical Christian leaders"[10] while Romney is a Mormon. This led to a flare up in early October when Robert Jeffress, a Baptist minister from Dallas who is close to Perry said that Romney is "a good, moral person, but someone who is part of a cult." Perry distanced himself from the remarks and the controversy and Romney denounced using "poisonous language" against faiths.
See also: Mormon vs Christian

Endorsements

Mitt Romney has received endorsements from Meg Whitman, Roy Blunt, former presidential hopefuls Tim Pawlenty and Thaddeus McCotter, supermodel Cindy Crawford and speed skater Dan Jansen, among others.

Rick Perry has received endorsements from Bobby Jindal, Brian Sandoval and James Leininger, among others.

Comparing Ranking in Opinion Polls

Romney led in opinion polls until Perry declared his candidacy. However, after some faltering performances in debates, Perry lost ground and Romney regained his lead in opinion polls. Towards the beginning of October, Herman Cain emerged as a strong contender to challenge both Perry and Romney.

Poll source Date(s) administered Rick Perry Mitt Romney
Angus Reid Public Opinion Dec 27-29, 2011 7% 32%
Gallup Dec 23-29, 2011 7% 26%
Gallup Dec 22-28, 2011 8% 27%
Gallup Dec 21-27, 2011 8% 25%
Gallup Dec 20-26, 2011 8% 24%
Gallup Dec 19-23, 2011 8% 23%
Gallup Dec 18-22, 2011 8% 22%
APCO Insight Dec 17-22, 2011 9.2% 30.2%
Gallup Dec 17-21, 2011 7% 21%
The Economist/YouGov Dec 17-20, 2011 5% 21%
Gallup Dec 15-20, 2011 8% 23%
Gallup Dec 14-19, 2011 8% 23%
Public Policy Polling Dec 16-18, 2011 6% 22%
CNN/ORC International Dec 16-18, 2011 7% 28%
ABC News/Washington Post Dec 15-18, 2011 7% 30%
CBS News Dec 14-18, 2011 6% 20%
Gallup Dec 13-18, 2011 7% 24%
Gallup Dec 12-17, 2011 6% 24%
Gallup Dec 11-16, 2011 6% 24%
Gallup Dec 10-14, 2011 5% 24%
Gallup Dec 9-13, 2011 6% 23%
Reason Magazine/Rupe Dec 1-13, 2011 5% 25%
Associated Press-GfK (Republicans and Republican-leaning independents) Dec 8-12, 2011 6% 27%
Reuters/Ipsos Dec 8-12, 2011 12% 18%
Gallup Dec 8-12, 2011 7% 22%
NBC/Wall Street Journal Dec 7-11, 2011 6% 23%
Pew Research Center Dec 7-11, 2011 5% 21%
Gallup Dec 7-11, 2011 6% 23%
Gallup Dec 6-10, 2011 6% 23%
Gallup Dec 5-9, 2011 6% 23%
Gallup Dec 4-8, 2011 6% 23%
Fox News Dec 5-7, 2011 8% 23%
Gallup Dec 3-7, 2011 5% 25%
The Economist/YouGov Dec 3-6 2011 9% 15%
Gallup Dec 2-6, 2011 6% 23%
Gallup Dec 1-5, 2011 7% 22%
Poll Position Dec 4, 2011 3.2% 23.4%
Fairleigh Dickinson University (Republicans) Nov 29-Dec 5, 2011 6% 25%
Rasmussen Reports Nov 30, 2011 4% 17%
The Economist/YouGov Nov 26-29, 2011 5% 17%
Poll Position Nov 27, 2011 4.9% 23.2%
Poll Position Nov 22, 2011 5.9% 21.4%
The Economist/YouGov Nov 19-22, 2011 5% 20%
CNN/ORC International Nov 18-20, 2011 11% 20%
Reuters/Ipsos Nov 18-19, 2011 10% 22%
IBOPE Zogby Nov 15-17, 2011 6% 14%
Quinnipiac University Nov 14-20, 2011 6% 22%
USA Today/Gallup (All Republicans/Republican leaners) Nov 13-17, 2011 8% 20%
Fox News Nov 13-15, 2011 7% 22%
The Economist/YouGov Nov 12-15, 2011 6% 19%
CNN/ORC International Nov 11-13, 2011 12% 24%
Public Policy Polling Nov 10-13, 2011 6% 18%
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Nov 10-12, 2011 4% 32%
Reuters/Ipsos Nov 10-11, 2011 12% 28%
Pew Research Center Nov 9-14, 2011 8% 23%
McClatchy-Marist Nov 8-10, 2011 8% 23%
Reuters/Ipsos Nov 7-8, 2011 10% 26%
CBS News Nov 6-10, 2011 8% 15%
Politico/George Washington University Nov 6-9, 2011 14% 25%
The Economist/YouGov Nov 5-8, 2011 7% 24%
USA Today/Gallup Nov 2-6, 2011 11% 21%
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Nov 2-5, 2011 10% 28%
Rasmussen Reports Nov 2, 2011 8% 23%
Washington Post-ABC News Oct 31-Nov 3, 2011 13% 24%
The Economist/YouGov Oct 29-Nov 1, 2011 6% 17%
Reuters/Ipsos Oct 27-28, 2011 15% 29%
Quinnipiac University Oct 25-31, 2011 8% 23%
Fox News Oct 23-25, 2011 10% 20%
The Economist/YouGov Oct 22-25, 2011 9% 24%
CBS News/New York Times Oct 19-24, 2011 6% 21%
IBOPE Zogby Oct 18-21, 2011 8% 19%
The Economist/YouGov Oct 15-18, 2011 8% 21%
CNN/ORC International Oct 14-16, 2011 13% 26%
Rasmussen Reports Oct 12, 2011 9% 29%
IBOPE Zogby Oct 11-14, 2011 7% 21%
The Economist/YouGov Oct 8-11, 2011 10% 18%
Public Policy Polling Oct 7-10, 2011 14% 22%
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Oct 7-10, 2011 16% 23%
The Washington Post/Bloomberg News Oct 6-9, 2011 13% 24%
Newsmax/InsiderAdvantage Oct 4, 2011 14% 24%
Gallup Oct 3-7, 2011 15% 20%
IBOPE Zogby Oct 3-5, 2011 12% 18%
Washington Post / ABC News Sep 29 - Oct 2, 2011 14% 21%
CBS News Sep 29 - Oct 2, 2011 12% 17%
Quinnipac Sep 29 - Oct 3, 2011 14% 22%
Fox News Sep 25-27, 2011 19% 23%
The Economist / YouGov Sep 24-27, 2011 14% 15%
IBOPE Zogby Sep 23-26, 2011 18% 17%
CNN / ORC Sep 23-25, 2011 28% 21%
Rasmussen Sep 15-18, 2011 28% 24%
USA Today/Gallup Sep 15-18, 2011 31% 24%
NYTimes/CBS News Sep 10-15, 2011 23% 16%
Bloomberg Sep 9-12, 2011 26% 22%
IBOPE/Zogby Sep 9-12, 2011 37% 14%
CNN/ORC Sep 9-11, 2011 30% 18%
Washington Post/ABC News Aug 29-31, 2011 27% 22%
Fox News Aug 29-31, 2011 26% 18%
Politico Aug 28-Sep 1, 2011 36% 17%
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Aug 27-31, 2011 38% 23%
IBOPE Zogby Aug 25-29, 2011 41% 12%
CNN/ORC Aug 24-25, 2011 27% 14%
The Economist/YouGov Aug 20-23, 2011 23% 15%
Public Policy Polling Aug 18-21, 2011 27% 17%
Gallup Aug 17-21, 2011 29% 17%
Quinnipiac University Aug 16-27, 2011 24% 18%
Rasmussen Reports Aug 15, 2011 29% 18%

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