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Poll: Perry's Ponzi Scheme Stance OK With Many Republicans

If Texas Gov. Rick Perry is going to have problems with Republican voters over an issue, it apparently isn't going to be his controversial use of the phrase "Ponzi scheme" to describe Social Security.

A new USA Today/Gallup poll found that 43 percent of Republicans were either inclined to increase their support or unswayed by his negative characterization of the entitlement program. Curiously, 36 percent said they didn't know enough to venture an opinion.

Only 19 percent of GOP voters said they were less likely to support Perry because of his Ponzi comment though it had a more negative impact on independents, with 32 percent saying they were turned off.

The poll isn't necessarily bad news for Mitt Romney. If he keeps hammering Perry for threatening Social Security, for instance, the former Massachusetts governor could conceivably convert some of those voters in the 32 percent that didn't know enough to have a strong opinion.

Also, it seems to confirm Romney's "electability" argument that Perry's views would be "toxic" in a general election against Obama. The independent voters needed for a candidate to win the White House are clearly more critical of Perry's Social Security stance than Republicans.

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Frank James joined NPR News in April 2009 to launch the blog, "The Two-Way," with co-blogger Mark Memmott.
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