Bachmann, Romney Neck-and-Neck in Iowa Poll

Bachmann, Romney Neck-and-Neck in Iowa Poll

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - August 8, 2011

As Republican presidential candidates descend upon Iowa this week for a debate Thursday and the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann holds a very narrow lead over the field, according to a new poll.

A Rasmussen Reports survey released Monday shows Bachmann with 22 percent support from likely Iowa caucus-goers and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 21 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul rounds out the top three with 16 percent support. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to launch his presidential campaign by the end of the month, garnered 12 percent; former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty sits behind him with 11 percent. None of the remaining candidates received more than 5 percent support. Notably, only 28 percent of respondents were certain about which candidate they would back, while the rest said they could still change their pick.

Romney is skipping this weekend’s straw poll in Ames, but his name will still appear on the ballot. Perry’s name will be absent, though his supporters began running ads in the state last week to drum up support for his candidacy. Pawlenty has been intensely focused on Iowa, largely banking his candidacy on a strong showing in the Hawkeye State. He has sought to minimize expectations for this weekend's straw poll, however, admitting that a win is unlikely but predicting that he would "show good progress." Eight candidates -- Romney, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Paul, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman and Rick Santorum -- will go head-to-head in a debate sponsored by Fox News and the Washington Examiner on Thursday.

Like Pawlenty, Bachmann has focused her campaign on Iowa, touting her birthplace connections on the stump and on the airwaves. She enjoys the highest net favorability rating (42 percent) in the state, according to the Rasmussen poll. Pawlenty comes in second with a net of 30 percent. Romney's net favorability rating is 28 percent, Paul's is 20 percent, and Perry's is 19 percent. Former House Speaker Gingrich and former Utah Gov. Huntsman received upside-down favorability ratings (-29 percent and -23 percent, respectively). A quarter of the Republicans polled said they don’t know enough about Huntsman to form an opinion about him yet. The Thursday debate will be his first since he announced his candidacy earlier this summer.

Bachmann receives high favorability marks (89 percent) from those who identify with the Tea Party movement. She also received the highest ballot support from this group, with 32 percent of them backing her. Paul comes in second with 17 percent; Perry received 15 percent; and Pawlenty garnered 11 percent. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said they align with the Tea Party. Romney leads among the 49 percent who don’t identify with the movement.

The Minnesota congresswoman leads among evangelical Christians, an important constituency in Iowa. Twenty-eight percent of this group support her while 18 percent back Romney, and 17 percent back Paul. Bachmann leads among conservatives with 26 percent support while Romney leads among moderates with 39 percent.

For this poll, Rasmussen surveyed 627 likely Iowa Republican caucus participants on Aug. 4. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent.

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

Mitt Romney for Mayor
Carl M. Cannon · November 16, 2014
Perry in N.H.: Preparing WH Bid, Will Decide in '15
Kathleen Ronayne · November 11, 2014

Latest On Twitter