Bachmann-Gingrich in 2012?

Here’s another little-known fact: Gingrich polls extremely well with independents, much better than Bachmann, in fact. And in a head-to-head contest with Obama, he polls second only to Romney.

Gingrich, more than any other GOP candidate, could help Bachmann in a general election without alienating the GOP base.

But what about Texas Governor Rick Perry, the candidate who so many are hoping will “save” the party in 2012, and who some expect will jump in shortly?

Don’t count on him running. He’ll start at a significant disadvantage in Iowa, and he’s highly unlikely to gain traction this late in New Hampshire. That leaves South Carolina, where there is no clear frontrunner.

Even so, most polls seem to suggest that Perry won’t catch on with GOP voters — certainly not like Bachmann has. In the latest national polls, he’s still in single digits. And in New Hampshire, among those who have heard of him, his net favorability is lower than Romney’s or Bachmann’s.

That’s right: Bachmann-Gingrich in 2012. You heard it here first.

Stewart J. Lawrence is a Washington, D.C.-based public policy analyst who writes frequently on immigration and Latino affairs. He is also founder and managing director of Puentes & Associates, Inc., a bilingual survey research and communications firm.