Bachmann Continues Surge in New National Poll

Bachmann Continues Surge in New National Poll

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - July 19, 2011

Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann continues to surge in the Republican presidential race. She now trails former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by only four points in a new poll from Public Policy Polling (D).

Romney leads Bachmann, 20 percent to 16 percent, in the survey. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin rounds out the top three with 12 percent. When Palin is not included in the poll, Bachmann leads Romney by one point (21 percent to 20 percent) among Republican primary voters. And in a head-to-head matchup with Romney, Bachmann leads, 44 percent to 41 percent.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sits in fourth place with 11 percent support. Perry has been flirting with a White House bid and his supporters have begun to lay the groundwork in the early caucus state of Iowa, but the three-term governor has not made a decision on whether he will run. Businessman Herman Cain is behind him with 10 percent, Texas Rep. Ron Paul comes in at 9 percent, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has 6 percent, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty follows with 5 percent, and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman rounds out the field with 2 percent support.

Bachmann would benefit the most if Palin decides not to run. Among Palin voters, 44 percent select Bachmann as a second choice, compared to 6 percent for Romney. Perry, Cain, Gingrich and Huntsman each pick up one point.

Palin scores the highest net favorability rating in the survey. Fifty-seven percent have a positive view of her while 32 percent hold an unfavorable opinion of her, giving her a net rating of 25 percent. Bachmann comes in second with a net of 22; Romney sits behind Cain (21) with a net rating of 19 percent. Still, many Republicans don't want to see Palin contend for the White House: 53 percent of oppose a presidential bid by the 2008 vice presidential candidate while 29 percent would support her running.

As Bachmann inches her way up, the survey suggests she has conservative voters to thank. Seventy-five percent of voters surveyed identified themselves as either somewhat or very conservative. Among the most conservative voters, Bachmann edges Palin, 19 percent to 17 percent. Perry comes in behind the pair with 14 percent. Bachmann picks up seven points among the most conservative voters when Palin is not included. Perry picks up three points.

Romney leads the field among those who identify as somewhat conservative or moderate. Meanwhile, Pawlenty, who has been hoping to gain traction among conservatives, especially in the early state of Iowa, continues to struggle: 6 percent of the most conservative voters and 4 percent of those who see themselves as somewhat conservative support him. His numbers don't change in a Palin-less race.

PPP surveyed 730 Republican primary voters from July 15 to July 17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percent.

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

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