Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bachmann continues to surge

Michele Bachmann's momentum continues to build and she's taken first place by the smallest of margins on PPP's newest national Presidential poll. 21% of Republican primary voters say she's their top choice to 20% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Rick Perry, 11% for Herman Cain, 9% for Ron Paul, 7% for Newt Gingrich, 5% for Tim Pawlenty, and 3% for Jon Huntsman.

Bachmann's rise has been fueled by her appeal to voters on the far right- and their skepticism about Romney. Romney has the lead with centrist Republicans (23-17) and with those defining themselves as only somewhat right of center (24-17). But among 'very conservative' voters only 48% have a positive opinion of Romney to 34% who view him negatively, weak numbers, and Bachmann's capitalizing on that with a 26-15 lead over Romney, who's in third place with that group of voters.

Oddly enough one of the best things that could happen to Romney right now is the late entry of Sarah Palin into the race. In a ballot test including her as a candidate he leads the way with 20% to 16% for Bachmann, 12% for Palin, and 11% for Perry. 44% of Palin's voters say they would vote for Bachmann if Palin didn't run, compared to only 6% who say they would otherwise vote for Romney. So basically a Palin candidacy would take a large bite out of Bachmann's support with virtually no impact on Romney.

Republicans don't want Palin to run though. Just 29% think she should enter the race at this point to 53% opposed to that idea. It's not that GOP voters don't like Palin- 57% have a favorable opinion of her to 32% with a negative one, the best favorability spread of anyone we tested on this poll. But even among those voters who see her in a positive light only 45% think she should make a White House bid. There just continues to be a significant disconnect between Republicans liking Palin and thinking she should be President.

There's been a fair amount of speculation that this contest could end up as a two race between Romney and one of the more conservative candidates in the field, the strongest of whom at this point is looking like Bachmann. In such a scenario Bachmann would lead Romney 44-41. Bachmann would win the support of Cain voters (57-35), Paul backers (43-31), and Perry's (57-30) while Romney would get the voters of Gingrich supporters (43-29), Huntsman ones (79-10), and Pawlenty's (43-32).

The fact that 57% of Perry's supporters would otherwise prefer Bachmann to only 30% who would go for Romney suggests that his entrance into the race would have the potential to stifle Bachmann's momentum. Perry's 12% debut in our polling is a very strong entrance given how little exposure he's had so far on the national stage. Other than Bachmann he has to be seen as the biggest winner on this poll.

The losers this time around are the duo of Pawlenty and Huntsman. Pawlenty appeared to be finally getting some momentum after Mike Huckabee declined to make the race and did as well as 13% in a national poll we conducted in late May. Since then though he's declined to 9% and now 5% over the course of our last two surveys- not a good trajectory. Meanwhile Huntsman's official entry to the race hasn't done anything for him- he's still stuck at the same 2-3% level of support that he's shown in most of our polling both at the national and state levels.

These numbers also show potential signs of trouble ahead for Romney. Only 17% of Republican voters say they'd be willing to vote for someone who had supported an individual health insurance mandate at the state level, compared to 66% who say they would not be willing to support such a candidate. The funny thing about that is Romney's getting 17% right now with that latter group of voters and his favorability with them is 49/33. Your average primary voter isn't tuned in enough to the race right now to know the specifics of Romney's record.

The biggest question for his campaign is what's going to happen once Romney's opponents inevitably do make folks aware of his record- will that really be a sort of litmus test/deal breaker for GOP voters or will they forgive Romney for that because of his greater attributes and far superior electability? These numbers show the potential for big trouble down the road for Romney but there are also reasons to think he'll be able to overcome that.

Full results here

17 comments:

NRH said...

In 2007, Giuliani was holding down a significant nationwide lead for the Republican nomination. As Republican voters engaged and began to learn about his actual positions, Giuliani's support collapsed in favor of further-right contenders. It seems that might be Romney's fate this year - trying to claim the mantle of moderation and electability isn't going to fly with a primary electorate that's rabid for ideological extremism.

Anonymous said...

Did you poll all who vote in Republican primaries (independents and Democrats too?) or just Republicans?

Cletis L. Stump said...

And Daffy Duck is considering throwing his bill into the ring as well.

Revolution 2012 said...

Just out of curiousity, Why don't you include Rick Santorum when you include those who are not declared?

Anonymous said...

Next time you include a "Would you vote for..." question, please include "Would you vote for someone, who used to belong to a church which believed that the Pope is the Antichrist?"

(Bachmann - this is getting a lot of media play recently.)

G.H. Zobell said...

No one can deny that Bachmann continues to surge as a the leading alternative to a moderate Romney, but this poll needs to be looked closely. 59% of the very liberals that were included in the poll, albeit they only made up 2% of the poll, all said they would support Bachmann. Bachmann is the most ideological opposite of these voters and their choosing of her is likely more in jest and hope that she would win so that she could be destroyed in a general election. When you take away that roughly 1% of additional support, Bachmann runs dead even with Romney. This poll misleads us to believe she has surpassed in popularity the front runner, while in actuality she has emerged through strong surging as his main contender. Further, when we view the life support that the Gingrich and Pawlenty campaigns are on, then they may soon have to capitulate. If the ratios of voting stay the same and their votes are thus dispersed, Romney takes the lead once again. Couple this with the fact that an entry of Perry into the race will dramatically pull many "right wing christian voters" to him, I feel the front runner status of Romney will only be challenged when a credible moderate like Huntsman starts to gain traction and depletes the voter advantage Romney has among moderates and slight conservatives.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"Did you poll all who vote in Republican primaries (independents and Democrats too?) or just Republicans?"

Anyone who said they usually vote in GOP primaries. As you can see, 17% are independents and 3% Democrats.

"Just out of curiousity, Why don't you include Rick Santorum when you include those who are not declared?"

There are a lot of declared candidates we can't include because we can only do up to 9 with push-button polling.

Naman said...

@G.H. Zobell

"...I feel the front runner status of Romney will only be challenged when a credible moderate like Huntsman starts to gain traction and depletes the voter advantage Romney has among moderates and slight conservatives."

Change "when" to "if", and I'd agree more with your analysis. It may also make more sense if you hadn't used the word "mislead", as you seem to be the only one believing to be misled.

Naman said...

@Revolution 2012:

Probably because Santorum has a negligible percentage of voters.

ateamofone said...

Im voting Ron Paul, guys got a clean record and has strong principal. He's a doctor and also part of the house’s monetary policy subcommittee. He grills the Federal Reserve every time for misusing and misplacing our tax dollars and is constantly pushing for transparency. This man means business when it comes to banks screwing the people over. vote Ron Paul. Research him because the mainstream media doesn't do a very good job at giving him air time. They dont want him to win so they dont post much on Ron Paul.....2012!

marc said...

re: Cletis L. Stump

Everyone knows Daffy is just a beard for Scrooge McDuck

Anonymous said...

1. Ron Paul took a lie detector test. The lie detector tapped out.
2. Ron Paul is an element on the periodic table.
3. Ron Paul could lead a horse to water AND convince it to drink, but he
doesn't believe the government has the right to so he refuses.
4. King Midas shook hands with Ron Paul once. Nothing happened.
5. Studies by the World Health Organization show that Ron Paul is the leading cause of freedom among men.
6. Ron Paul wasn't born. He liberated himself from the womb.
7. The chief export of Ron Paul is liberty.
8. When fascism goes to sleep at night, it checks under the bed for Ron Paul.
9. Ron Paul eats Total Gyms for breakfast.
10. If Ron Paul had lived in Sparta, the movie would have been called "1".
11.When Chuck Norris gets scared, he goes to Ron Paul.
12.Ron Paul lost his virginity to Susan B. Anthony.
13.Ron Paul doesn't cut taxes, He kills them with his bare hands.
14.Ron Paul delivers babies without his hands. He simply reads them the Bill of Rights and they crawl out in anticipation of freedom.
15.If you pull Ron Paul's finger, a band will march by playing Yankee Doodle Dandy.

I Am Iron Man said...

GH Zobell - you are reading too much into the crosstabs. you are always going to get a bit of fuzz at the edges when you are talking about such a small sample ("liberal Republicans") ... there are always some % of people who are going to give nonsense answers or who know absolutely nothing about what they are responding to. This sort of error is a part of polling... to focus on it is missing the forest for the trees.

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't be surprised if some of these candidates aren't in it just to rig the game. It's clear the GOP has decided Romney is their man, now they just need to make sure the base doesn't elect a social con. Which is exactly what would happen if there weren't so many social cons now in the race to keep there from being one standout competitor to Romney.

Anonymous said...

I don't see Palin jumping in the GOP primaries at this point. She sat it out too long, and the result is that Bachmann's support has solidified. If she had declared earlier, no way all those people would have flocked to Bachmann. Oh well, I suppose she could run as an Independent in the general, but then she'd just siphon votes off the Republican nominee.

Christian-Patriot said...

I for one like Michele Bachman and hope to see her stock rise even further. I am looking forward to placing a vote for her, or any other conservative. Mitt Romney is not one of them though, no matter what all the pundits tell us. I wrote a little on my blog about this (Christian-Patriot01.blogspot.com) but with far less sources and stats:)

Anonymous said...

Ok seriously people need to learn math before making uninformed comments like Michelle Bachmann has a lead in the current polls. If you look at the reference provided by the polling organization, you will clearly see a +/-3.6% margin of error. This means she is not, in fact, ahead in the polls, but is statistically dead even with Mitt Romney (as the difference between 21% and 20% is not greater than 3.6%, no matter where you are from). In addition to this, it is a national survey, yet it only looked at a total of 780 some odd likely Republican voters. 780? Out of a party of Republican primary voters probably well over 15 million people, not even a 1K seems like a drop in the bucket. Come back around again when you have at least 5-10k people surveyed, and then I will start to think of you as a credible survey.

 
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