Perry leads in Iowa, Bachmann slipping

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Two weeks after the Ames Straw Poll, Rick Perry has unseated Straw Poll winner Michele Bachmann to become the new frontrunner in Iowa, according to a poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling.

The 317 usual Iowa Republican primary voters surveyed by PPP are fond of the Texas governor, who gets 22 percent of the vote, while Mitt Romney takes 19 percent and Bachmann gets 18 percent. Ron Paul, who got second place in the straw poll, is the only other candidate to break double digits, getting 16 percent of the vote. (RELATED: Romney leads, Perry ties Obama in head-to-head match up)

That constitutes a potential fall from grace for Bachmann, who has led the field in every single Iowa poll since late June, after announcing her candidacy at the New Hampshire debate. Her win at Ames could have been a boon to her candidacy, but it seems to have been overshadowed by Perry’s announcement earlier that day that he would run.

If Sarah Palin enters the race, Bachmann’s star falls even further to 15 percent, while Perry holds first with 21 percent of the vote followed by Romney with 18 percent. Palin herself does not make a particularly strong showing, taking fifth place with 10 percent of the vote, behind Ron Paul.

Moreover, PPP notes, Bachmann’s favorability is down since the firm last polled Iowa in May. Then, 53 percent of Iowa Republicans held a favorable opinion of her, and 16 percent an unfavorable view. Now, 47 percent hold a favorable view, and 35 percent hold an unfavorable view.

It’s worth noting that the May poll was conducted before Bachmann officially announced her candidacy, a move that brought with it a spike in popularity and in the polls. If her favorability in Iowa is lower than before the surge, then it appears that her popularity may have crested – having hit its peak and coming back down.

Perry, on the other hand, has the highest favorable ratings at 56 percent favorable and 24 percent unfavorable, while Romney’s’ ratings are more in line with Bachmann’s at 45 percent favorable.

If the field narrows to just Bachmann, Perry, and Romney, Perry is the clear winner with 34 percent of the vote, followed by Romney with 28 percent, while Bachmann gets just 24 percent.

Without Perry in the race, however, Iowa Republicans prefer Bachmann to Romney, 44 percent to 42 percent. Perry handily bests either Bachmann or Romney if it is just the two of them – beating Romney 48 percent to 30 percent, and Bachmann 51 percent to 27 percent.

Perry even outstrips Bachmann among tea partiers, 32 percent of whom would support him on a Palin-less ballot, while 22 percent would support Bachmann. Ron Paul takes third among this demographic, with 19 percent.

PPP surveyed voters using automated telephone calls from August 19 to August 21. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percentage points.