Romney, Perry tied in new poll of California Republicans

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Texas governor Rick Perry speaks during the 2011 Republican Leadership Conference on June 18, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

As GOP presidential hopefuls gear up for Wednesday's Republican debate, a new poll shows Texas Governor Rick Perry tied with Mitt Romney among California Republican voters. The USC Dorslife/Los Angeles Times poll shows each candidate with 22 percent of the vote.

The poll is directed by Dan Schnur, who says that the breakdown in support is more a matter of intensity than demographics.

"The most interesting distinction between Perry and Romney among Republican voters is the level of intensity," Schnur says. "Perry supporters tend to feel much more strongly about their support for their candidate than Romney's do for theirs."

Schnur added that Romney tends to do better among the party's female candidates, while Perry's supporters skew more male. Tea party voters, Schnur says, have shifted their support to Perry.

Meanwhile on Monday, Republican contenders descended on the early-voting state of South Carolina, beginning a busy day of politics that is drawing the top Republicans vying for their party's presidential nomination.

With Labor Day marking the unofficial start to the 2012 campaign, the contenders are set to pitch themselves to tea partyers and the GOP base during an afternoon forum with Senator Jim DeMint in his home state.

The event is designed to probe the candidates on their views of spending, taxes and the Constitution — bedrock principles for the tea party activists whose rising clout is likely to shape the nominating process.

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