"Romney has the backing of the establishment, country club Republicans. Bachmann has right-wing populist backing. Perry has a foot in both camps,” says Allan Lichtman, history professor at American University in Washington, D.C.
Perry is poised to successfully court both the GOP establishment as well as the tea party, and as a lifelong Texan, can capture the growing Sunbelt vote.
“He has true crossover appeal,” says Mr. O’Connell.