Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Bachmann surging, signs of weakness for Romney

When PPP polled New Hampshire in April Michele Bachmann was stuck at 4%. She's gained 14 points over the last three months and now finds herself within single digits of Mitt Romney. Romney continues to lead the way in the state with 25% to 18% for Bachmann, 11% for Sarah Palin, 9% for Ron Paul, 7% for Rick Perry and Herman Cain, 6% for Jon Huntsman and Tim Pawlenty, and 4% for Newt Gingrich.

Bachmann's surge in New Hampshire is being built on the back of the Tea Party. Among voters identifying themselves as members of that movement she's leading the way at 25% with Palin and Romney tying for second at 16%, and Cain also placing in double digits at 11%. Only 33% of Republican primary voters in the state identify themselves as Tea Partiers though and with the remaining folks Romney's way ahead with 33% to 13% for Bachmann, and 10% for Huntsman and Paul.

Romney's starting to show some signs of weakness in New Hampshire. His support is down 12 points from 37% on the iteration of our April poll that didn't include Mike Huckabee or Donald Trump. His favorability numbers are headed in the wrong direction as well. He's dropped a net 18 points from +49 at 68/19 to +31 at 60/29. He's certainly still the front runner in the state but he's not looking as inevitable as he did a few months ago.

Usually a 12 point drop would qualify you as the biggest loser in the poll but Romney's still in first place so that designation probably deserves to go to Gingrich, who's at 4% and in 9th place now after being at 14% and tied for 2nd place on our previous poll. He's the only candidate besides Romney who's seen a double digit drop in his net favorability. It was +9 at 45/36 in April and it's now gone down 27 points to -18 at 33/51, making him the least popular out of 17 people we polled on.

Another big loser on this poll is Tim Pawlenty. His name recognition has sky rocketed from 48% to 72% with New Hampshire primary voters over the last three months. But his horse race support has only gone from 5% to 6%. And if his strategy is to be the anti-Romney this data point can't be seen as good news- if voters had to choose straight up between the two of them they'd go for Romney by a 59-25 margin over Pawlenty.

It's hard to really identify any 'winners' on this poll other than Bachmann. Paul and Palin's support has dropped from our previous poll. Cain debuts in our New Hampshire polling at 7%, but that's worse than he was doing in most of our polling throughout June across the country. Huntsman enters at 6% and that is at least a little bit of a good sign for him- it's better than he's done anywhere else we've polled. If there's a winner on the poll besides Bachmann it's probably Perry, tied for 5th at 7% despite not actually being in the race.

A Palin free field doesn't make much of a difference in New Hampshire at this point, mostly because she doesn't have that much support to begin with. If you take her out of the mix Romney maintains his 7 point advantage with 28% to 21% for Bachmann with no one else getting into double digits.

Here's how everyone's favorability that we tested stacks up in the state, compared to April when applicable:


Favorability (Net)

Change from April Poll

Michele Bachmann

64/24 (+40)

+20 (was +20 at 38/18)

Jeb Bush

59/19 (+40)

Not included

Rudy Giuliani

62/23 (+39)

-1 (was at +40 at 62/22)

Chris Christie

55/17 (+38)

Not included

Mitt Romney

60/29 (+31)

-18 (was +49 at 68/19)

Paul Ryan

39/15 (+24)

Not included

Ron Paul

53/30 (+23)

-9 (was +32 at 53/21)

Rick Perry

33/13 (+20)

Not included

Tim Pawlenty

45/27 (+18)

-2 (was +20 at 34/14)

Herman Cain

42/25 (+17)

+21 (was -4 at 9/13)

Rick Santorum

40/25 (+15)

+2 (was +13 at 30/17)

Sarah Palin

52/39 (+13)

+1 (was +12 at 51/39)

Jon Huntsman

25/25 (-1)

+3 (was -4 at 9/13)

Gary Johnson

9/15 (-6)

Not included

Buddy Roemer

5/16 (-11)

Not included

Fred Karger

2/16 (-14)

Not included

Newt Gingrich

33/51 (-18)

-27 (was +9 at 45/36)

-The candidates whose negatives outweigh their positives with primary voters are Huntsman, Gingrich, Gary Johnson, Buddy Roemer, and Fred Karger.

-Some candidates are becoming much better known. Cain's name rec is up 45 points from April, Bachmann's is up 32 points, Huntsman's is up 28 points, Pawlenty's is up 24 points, and Santorum's is up 18 points.

Full results here


Dustin Ingalls said...

Another interesting thing to note is that the open primary situation and there being no Democratic primary for independents to vote in doesn't benefit Romney, as some have speculated. Bachmann actually lags Romney by only four points with them, and they're a third of the electorate. Cain and Paul are right behind, getting way more support from non-Republicans than the GOP. The same thing is true in some of the two-way matchups. Romney leads Perry and Bachmann by more with Republicans than with independents. It remains to be seen whether more moderate, non-traditional Republican-primary-voting independents are drawn into voting in this race. That could change the shape of things and tip it to Romney. But for now, Romney should be hoping for more GOP faithful, not less, at least in this second home of his.

Anonymous said...

If the primary is open, sounds like it could be the Democrats turn to play a little "Operation Chaos" and pull the lever for Bachmann.

I Am Iron Man said...

This is delicious! If Bachmann can beat Romney in NH then she would likely be on her way to the nomination. Can President Obama and the rest of America be so lucky as to have the GOP self destruct in 2012? Here's hoping.

Anonymous said...

The Democrats will cross over for Romney, because he was Gov. of MA, Romneycare and gay marriage. They want a Republican who will be unable to defend that in a general election, will roll over for Obama and depress Republican turnout. Conservatives need to rally around a candidate who is not Romney, or the Democrats win.

Mark said...

Anonymous, all polls show Romney is the strongest general election candidate by far, so you're analysis doesn't make much sense. Democrats who may have liked Romney when he was governor of MA certainly don't like him now.

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