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Perry Tops Candidate 'Watch' List

No matter how you spell it, Rick Perry was the most visible GOP candidate last week by a long shot, according to the latest Pew Research Center News Interest Index, while, not surprisingly, the topic of most interest in the news was the 9/11 attacks anniversary coveage.

According to the poll, conducted Sept. 8-11, the Texas Governor was identifed by 31% of respondents as the candidate they have heard most about in the news recently, almost three times the next most-noticed candidate, Mitt Romney at 12%. Some of that may be attributable to the attention he drew with his "ponzi scheme" reference to Social Security.

Perry has rocketed up the charts, registering only a 3% score in that category two months ago. Perry and Romney were the only two candidates in double digits, with Michele Bachman a distant third at 7%, down from 23% only three weeks ago coming off her Iowa straw poll victory.

Rounding out the scores in "heard most about" were Sarah Palin, 5%; Donald Trump, 3%; Ron Paul, 2%; Jon Hunstman, 1%, Newt Gingrich, 1%; and Herman Cain, not registering, down from 1%. The biggest number belonged to "don't know" at 37%.

The 9/11 story (27%) topped the economy (23%) as the story respondents were following most closely. A majority (60%) said the coverage was about the right amount.

The survey is based on what is described as a "nationally representative sample of 1,010 adults."