New Poll: Bachmann Moves Into the Lead in Iowa

New Poll: Bachmann Moves Into the Lead in Iowa

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - July 11, 2011

Michele Bachmann has been inching closer to longtime front-runner Mitt Romney in several national polls since her well-received debate performance last month, and now a new survey released Monday shows the Minnesota congresswoman taking the lead in Iowa a month before the first major strength test in the White House race, the Aug. 13 Ames Straw Poll.

Bachmann edges Romney, 25 percent to 21 percent, among likely Iowa caucus-goers, according to a poll commissioned by She holds a greater lead over Romney among the "most attentive" voters surveyed, 32 percent to 18 percent.

The survey holds some good news for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has struggled to gain traction in the race so far. He is tied with Herman Cain for third place with 9 percent support. (Among the most attentive voters, though, Cain edges Pawlenty, 12 percent to 8 percent.) Behind them, Ron Paul received 6 percent support, Newt Gingrich 4 percent, Rick Santorum 2 percent and Jon Huntsman 1 percent.

A Des Moines Register poll last month put Pawlenty in sixth place with 6 percent. The former Minnesota governor announced his campaign in Iowa six weeks ago, released two statewide television ads there recently and spent several days stumping in the state last week. But the candidate hasn't been able to pick up the same momentum in Iowa as has his fellow Minnesotan, Bachmann. Pawlenty had hesitated to attack his rival directly until an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday, when he said Bachmann's "record of accomplishment in Congress is nonexistent." He elaborated: "We're looking for people who can lead a large enterprise in a public setting and drive it to conclusion. I've done that, she hasn't." Despite his low poll numbers and name recognition, Pawlenty believes that his own surge is on the horizon, and his campaign feels optimistic about the candidate's chances in Iowa.

Meanwhile, Bachmann -- who announced her candidacy in her Iowa hometown of Waterloo late last month and launched her first television ad campaign in the Hawkeye State last week -- shows no signs of slowing down in Iowa. In the new poll, she received the highest favorability rating of the candidates, with 76 percent having a favorable opinion of her and 11 percent having an unfavorable one, for a net rating of +65. Romney has a net rating of +41 (66 percent to 25 percent), placing him behind Pawlenty and Cain. Pawlenty placed second to Bachmann in the category, with 60 percent having a favorable view of him and 12 percent reporting an unfavorable view (for a net rating of +48).

Bachmann arrived in Urbandale, Iowa, on Saturday to open her state campaign headquarters, and she will tour a manufacturing plant in Indianola on Monday afternoon, according to her campaign. Cain and Gingrich will be in Iowa Monday as well.

The poll was conducted by Voter/Consumer Research from June 26 to June 30. It surveyed 500 likely caucus-goers, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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