DES MOINES, Iowa, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- A poll of conservative voters in Iowa indicates support for presidential hopeful Rick Perry is weakening with the Texas governor now in third place.
The poll, released Thursday by the American Research Group, had Perry in third with 14 percent of the vote, behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at 21 percent and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., at 15 percent.
"When Perry came in, a lot of people were leaning [toward] Perry or at least looking at him very hard," Bob Vander Plaats, the head of Family Leader, socially conservative umbrella organization, told The Hill, a Washington publication.
The poll was conducted Sept. 22-27, after Perry's last debate performance.
"The first three issues he addressed were HPV, the DREAM Act and the border fence," said former Iowa Republican Party Political Director Craig Robinson. "That shows how damaging these debates have been to Perry. He's explaining and he hasn't done a very good job of it."
Perry spokesman Robert Black stressed that the campaign is still in its early stages and that the governor has not yet spent much time in Iowa.
"It's important to step back and take a breath," Black said to The Hill. "We're a 5-week-old campaign. We haven't spent as much time in Iowa as we're going to, we haven't spent as much time anywhere as we're going to. The more Governor Perry gets out and talks to folks -- whether they be social conservatives, economic conservatives or just conservatives -- the more his positions are going to become more clear to a lot of folks."
American Research Group polled 600 likely Republican caucus-goers. The data carry a margin of error of 4 percentage points.