Bachmann and Romney tie in North Carolina, New Jersey

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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North Carolina and New Jersey are two very different places, but they have one thing in common: Republicans in those states want Michele Bachmann or Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee.

The two candidates are virtually tied in both states, a strong showing for the congresswoman, according to a Public Policy Polling poll released Thursday.

In North Carolina, Bachmann and Romney tie with 17 percent and 18 percent of the vote, respectively. Rick Perry is close behind with 14 percent of the vote, followed by Sarah Palin with 12 percent.

If Palin opts not to run, the two beneficiaries are Bachmann and Romney who each take about half of her vote, jumping to 22 percent and 23 percent, respectively. Perry is the only other candidate to make it into double digits, attracting 14 percent of the vote.

That’s out of character for the South, according to a Gallup poll also released Thursday. Breaking down the results of its national polling, Gallup found that in southern states, 22 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents prefer Perry. Palin comes in at 13 percent, 12 percent choose Romney, and 10 percent go for Bachmann.

Perry’s weakness in North Carolina seems to lie with moderates, only two percent of whom say they would vote for him. He ties with Bachmann for the lead among the very conservative crowd, getting 19 percent of the vote, but does more poorly with the less conservative elements of the party. (RELATED: Obama breaks 50 percent disapproval barrier)

In New Jersey, Bachmann also makes a strong showing, earning 21 percent of the vote in a Chris Christie-less and Palin-less field, while Romney takes 22 percent. Ron Paul has 11 percent, followed by Perry with 10 percent. In this state, Palin presents a more serious challenge to Bachmann if she gets in. She enters the race with 16 percent of the vote, pulling Bachmann down to 18 percent. Romney gets 21 percent, and Perry stays at 10 percent.

Bachmann also performs better than average in New Jersey, based on the Gallup numbers, which have Romney leading in the region with 19 percent, followed by Giuliani with 18 percent, Palin and Perry tied for 13 percent, and Bachmann with 12 percent. However, PPP does not include Giuliani on its polling ballot.

Romney has a sizeable lead in the midwestern and western U.S., according to Gallup. He gets 17 percent of the vote in the Midwest, followed by Bachmann with 11 percent, and Perry and Palin tied with 10 percent. In the West, Romney doubles his nearest competitor’s share of the vote, taking 24 percent to Bachmann’s second place 12 percent. Palin and Giuliani tie for third place with 11 percent, and Perry and Ron Paul get 10 percent each.

Romney is the candidate who has done the most campaigning in western states thus far. He has campaigned and held a fundraiser in the early state of Nevada; Romney has also visited California and Colorado.