Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's exit Friday from the 2016 Republican presidential race Friday proves that this election cycle is far different from the one four years ago — and it is because of Donald Trump, pollster Matt Towery told Newsmax.
"Trump-ism is changing the way this election cycle goes," Towery, who is CEO of the InsiderAdvantage firm, said in an interview. He noted how, four years, ago, "we saw basically a different candidate every few weeks who would rise and then fall in the Republican side."
These included former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain; and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses. Perry also dropped out of that race.
"What we're seeing now is one man, Donald Trump, continuing to edge further and further ahead in the polls," Towery said. "And really, the closest alternative as another outsider in Dr. Ben Carson. If you take their totals together, you're darn near 50 percent of the Republican electorate.
"The guys who are running who are the experienced people, who might've been appealing four years ago, I don't think they're getting much traction right now."
That included Perry, who announced Friday that he was quitting the race
after slightly more than three months. He announced his decision at the 44th Eagle Council in St. Louis, Missouri, which is organized by the longtime conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly.
"I am suspending my campaign for the presidency of the United States," the Lone Star State's longest-serving governor said. "We have a tremendous field, probably the greatest group of men and women in a generation."
"I step aside knowing our party is in good hands — and as long as we listen to the grassroots, the cause of conservatism will be too."
Perry had consistently lagged in the polls — he garnered only 1 percent in an exclusive Newsmax survey
that Towery's OpinionSavvy operation conducted last month — and had scaled back his campaign in recent weeks.
"I'm not surprised that Rick Perry is out," Towery told Newsmax. "In the end, the combination of never really getting a handle on ow to take up what he had gained from the last presidential cycle in which he ran and the inability to raise funds just was too much."
Of the remaining 16 candidates, Towery said he's expecting former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — now fourth in some polls — to "stage a substantial comeback at some point, not necessarily to win, but he'll get strong again.
"You're going to see some of these conservative candidates and alternative candidates begin to fall apart if they can't get much going."
Next, however, is South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham "unless some miracle happens," Towery said. The three-term senator also finished at 1 percent in the Newsmax poll.
"We polled South Carolina. He wasn't even getting 5 percent in his home state — and he's not scratching anywhere else.
"I just don't see the Lindsey Graham candidacy getting anywhere," Towery said. "I would say Lindsey Graham probably would be the next likely one to disappear, but odd things can happen.
"This is such an expensive business now," Towery added. "There's just not enough money out there, and vying for the presidency with these many candidates will make it a test in Iowa unless you really start picking up some numbers."
Perry's former challengers commended him for running a positive campaign.
"I have gotten to know Governor Perry," Carson told Greta Van Susteren on Fox News. "He is he a very fine gentleman. A great intellect. And a very fine person.
"I wish him the best — and certainly if there is a Carson administration, we will certainly be seeking his advice."
Bush and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, meanwhile, took to Twitter:
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