Rick Perry (photo: Gage Skidmore)

In the short period of time since Texas Governor Rick Perry officially joined the Republican President primary, every major polling operation has found him with a significant lead in their nationwide surveys. Quinnipiac is the latest pollster to confirm Perry’s status with a new poll showing him leading Mitt Romney by six points. From Quinnipiac:

Among Republicans and independent voters leaning Republican, Perry gets 24 percent to Romney’s 18 percent, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s 11 percent, Minnesota U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann’s 10 percent, Texas U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s 9 percent and businessman Herman Cain’s 5 percent. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich gets 3 percent, while former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former Sen. Rick Santorum and Michigan U.S. Rep. Thaddeus McCotter get 1 percent each.

Perry’s lead in this Quinnipiac poll is outside the poll’s margin of error but it is smaller than the 12-13 point lead found in recent national polls by Gallup, PPP and CNN.

There has been some debate about whether or not Mitt Romney would want Sarah Palin to join the race. Some think that Palin running would split the very conservative vote with Perry, therefore helping Romney where there are plurality victories in the primaries. Yet according to this Quinnipiac poll, at this time Palin’s presence in the race would have almost no effect on Perry’s lead over Romney. Without Palin as one of the options in the poll, Perry’s lead over Romney doesn’t change. In that scenario, it is Perry 26 percent, Romney 20 percent, and Bachmann at 12 percent.