Bachmann surges in national poll, Perry makes strong debut

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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A new national poll from Quinnipiac University finds Michele Bachmann climbing in the ranks of Republican presidential contenders, while Rick Perry makes a strong showing in his first appearance in the poll.

Mitt Romney still leads among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters, netting 25 percent of the vote, but Bachmann is on the rise. She would get 14 percent of the vote if the Republican primary were held today. A month ago, she would have received only 6 percent.

Her “surge” comes in the days following two polls that showed the Minnesota congresswoman leading among Iowa Republican caucus-goers.

Palin and Rick Perry are the only two other candidates who make it into double digits in the Quinnipiac poll, with Palin at 12 percent and Perry debuting on the ballot at 10 percent.

Bachmann is, in fact, the only candidate who saw gains from June to July; all other candidates either stayed the same or dropped a few points. Palin is down from 15 percent, Newt Gingrich has dropped to 5 percent from 8 percent, and Tim Pawlenty saw a slight drop off from 5 percent to 3 percent. Herman Cain and Rick Santorum each dropped three percentage points.

The top tier is unchanged even if one of the two undeclared candidates, Palin and Perry, opts not to run. Romney holds first, Bachmann holds second, and either Palin or Perry takes third.

Though Americans are divided on whether Obama deserves to be reelected — 47 percent said yes, 47 percent said no — no Republican candidate currently beats him in a head-to-head race. Only Romney holds Obama to under 50 percent of the vote, taking 41 percent to Obama’s 47 percent. Obama beats Perry 50 percent to 37 percent and Bachmann 50 percent to 38 percent. Palin loses to the sitting president by the largest margin, getting 34 percent to Obama’s 53 percent.

Quinnipiac surveyed 2,311 registered voters using live interviewers calling both land lines and cell phones. The survey was conducted from July 5 to July 11, 2011, and the margin of error is plus or minus 2.0 percent. For the questions specifically directed at Republican and Republican-leaning voters, the sample size was 913 voters and the margin of error is plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.