Politico had an interesting piece this morning comparing Mitt Romney with Rick Perry. Despite the obvious fact that Rick Perry has great appeal to social/religious conservatives, Perry also has some other strengths on the business conservative side. First, Perry's state of Texas has led the nation in job creation over the last couple years. Definitely a strength in this upcoming election when all people can do is talk about "jobs, jobs, jobs." Perry also worked as a partner with his father on a ranch after he served in the Air Force.
So it appears as though Perry has a little bit of experience in business on his ranch, but not nearly as much, or as thorough, as Romney. So if we are talking about depth of intellect, and depth of experience, Romney wins in a landslide. But there are a lot of farmers out there, and Perry will be able to connect with them in a way that a business CEO like Romney can't.
The other point of course, is that Perry has military experience, something Romney doesn't have. For better or for worse, military connections are a big benefit to Republican candidates. So in many ways, Perry seems like a pretty well rounded candidate. He has experience with all three legs of the conservative "stool," including social/values voters, military voters, and economic/fiscal voters.
Rick Perry also has some substantial negatives. His primary negative, at least from my point of view, is that he has spent almost his whole life as a politician. Not a good attribute in many Republican circles. Also, Rick Perry has done no preparation for his presidential run, so his national network is fairly weak right now, just like his knowledge of foreign affairs. The world is complicated and you just can't learn all the details of international affairs in a few months. Late entry candidates, like Fred Thompson in 2007, have a difficult time gaining tractions and acquiring the national network and knowledge needed to run for president.
Lastly, do Americans really want another Texan president? Perry may sound too similar to George W. Bush and that may lead many people to not vote for Perry.