Perry’s Popularity Strategy

Governor Rick Perry's new economic plan — which includes a flat income tax of 20 percent — could reinvigorate his presidential campaign. Perry's popularity is growing despite what some have called poor performances at Republican Primary debates.

Gov. Rick Perry calls his new economic plan “Cut, Balance and Grow.” It would replace the current income tax with a 20 percent flat tax for everyone. His plan also includes changes to Social Security and Medicare.

University of Houston Political Science Professor Brandon Rottinghaus says the idea of a flat tax is increasingly popular.

“This has been something that presidential candidates have batted around for the last few election cycles and so I do think that it’s likely that he’s going to pick up a lot of support by doing something like that. Now of course, the details may present more complicated effects, so that some of the things may be less desirable to the more moderate wing of the party of to independent voters.”

Perry’s strategy is to set himself apart as the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney. Rottinghaus says Perry is a formidable candidate, both in terms of his reputation and his fundraising ability.

“His positioning in the race gives him a kind of national credibility that every other candidate is also vying for. If you consider Mitt Romney to be the frontrunner and largely to be the kind of moderate voice of the party, then you’d have to think about who is going to be the conservative alternative to that. And so as long as Rick Perry is articulating those sort of conservative ideals, he’s certainly going to be talked about.”

Rottinghaus says voters often have short memories and Perry’s economic plan could be what it takes to overcome the fallout from what many consider his poor debate performances.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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