Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and the as-yet-undeclared Texas Gov. Rick Perry have unseated Mitt Romney as the front-runners in the latest Daily Caller/ConservativeHome Tracking Poll.
This time the survey asked five questions: Who is your top pick for president? Who is the most electable? Who is your second choice? Who would do the best job handling the economy? And who would do the best job reducing spending in Washington?
Having finally conceded that Chris Christie and Paul Ryan are actually serious when they say they’re not going to run, we removed them from the ballot. We added Rudy Giuliani, who looks to be heading in the opposite direction.
Perry and Bachmann have set a new bar for the poll, garnering support in the range of 25 percent in the categories of electability and top pick.
This suggests that more Republican voters are becoming engaged in the race as they find candidates who actually excite them, as opposed to voting for the best option in a fairly unexciting field.
It’s indicative that while a large margin has consistently considered Romney to be the most electable candidate (a pragmatic metric), he has never particularly caught fire as voters’ top pick (a more idealistic metric). (Pawlenty declines to sign Family Leader marriage pledge, promotes faith in video)
That trend continues in this round of the tracking poll.
Romney was judged the most electable by 33.5 percent, but just 12.4 percent called him their top pick for the nomination. Perry, on the other hand, does well in both categories: He’s well-liked as a candidate, with 25.4 percent naming him as their top pick, and voters also see him as electable — with 28.5 percent calling him the most electable.
That combination would seem to bode well for Perry, should he decide to enter the race. Voters would get someone they see as capable of taking on President Obama, but for whom they wouldn’t have to compromise on their principles.
Bachmann also saw a huge gain in the Tracking Poll, as she has in most other polls released in the past two weeks. She is the top pick of 25.8 percent of those polled, while 21.1 percent called her the most electable.
She also seems to have firmly cemented herself as the Romney or Perry alternative, with 29.4 percent calling her their second choice.
Bachmann’s rise has to do with the very good show she has put on since formally launching her campaign last month. She has, to some degree, demonstrated that she can be a serious, credible candidate, and not just a sensationalist who generates buzz.
Perry, on the other hand, would enter the race with a cache of existing credibility. (Bachmann surges in national poll, Perry makes strong debut)
It’s worth noting that Rick Perry has been on the ballot since the very beginning, rating one to two percent of the vote each time around. His sudden, meteoric rise in the polls is notable because he has done nothing concrete to change voters’ opinions other than indicating that he was seriously considering a run.
This underscores what Mike Murphy has insisted to the Daily Caller on several occasions. At this point, he said, polls are as much an “applause meter/noise meter” as they are real indications of voter preferences. All of a sudden Perry is attracting serious media attention and generating significant hype among Republicans, as everyone waits to see whether or not he’ll jump into the race. Correspondingly, his poll numbers have skyrocketed.