Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are tied for the Republican Presidential lead in Wisconsin at 20%...with Mitt Romney all the way back at 13%. Sarah Palin at 11%, Herman Cain at 7%, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul at 6%, Tim Pawlenty (the poll was conducted before he dropped out) at 3%, and Jon Huntsman at 1% round out the field.
These numbers make it clear that Bachmann and Perry have all the momentum in the state, while all the other candidates are losing steam. Perry wasn't even tested when we polled Wisconsin in May and Bachmann's up 9 points now from her 11% standing then. Everyone else is on the decline- Pawlenty's fall was the worst, down 8 points from 11% in May to now 3%. You can see why he dropped out.
Palin's support is down 5 points, Romney, Paul, and Gingrich are each down 4, Cain's down 3, and Huntsman's down 1. At least in Wisconsin Perry and Bachmann are clearly sucking the wind out of the rest of the field and it's going to be interesting to see if that's the case everywhere in polling over the next couple weeks.
There are two key things within the crosstabs that don't bode terribly well for Romney:
-Among 'very conservative' voters, the largest segment of the Republican electorate in Wisconsin, Romney gets only 11%. That puts him well behind Bachmann's 25% and Perry's 22%. This was never a group of voters that Romney seemed particularly likely to win, but it's one that he has generally been able to stay competitive with. With two candidates in the race now who are better liked by the far right it's not clear if Romney's going to be able to get the minimum threshold of support he needs there.
-Here's the other problem though: the pattern in our polling over the last few months has been Bachmann wins the far right, Romney wins the moderates, and Romney wins overall because he also finishes first among what you might think of as the Republican middle- voters who identify themselves as conservative, but not as 'very conservative.' Winning with those voters in Wisconsin? Perry with 25% to 17% for Romney and 15% for Bachmann. That's the real threat Perry poses to Romney- if he can be the guy for Republican partisans who think Romney's too liberal but also think Bachmann's nuts. This is just one state and not a terribly important one to the nomination process at that but the numbers are not great news for Romney.
If you take Palin out of the picture Bachmann gains even more steam, getting 24% to 20% for Perry, 17% for Romney, and 10% for Gingrich.
Full results here