Voters believe Bachmann would do most damage to economy as president

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry would do the most damage to the economy if elected president, voters believe, while Mitt Romney and Herman Cain would do the most to improve the economy, according to a poll released Monday.

According to the Washington Post/Bloomberg poll, 15 percent of all adults polled felt Bachmann would do the most damage to the economy if elected president, and 12 percent felt Perry would do the most harm. Among those who leaned Republican and will choose the party’s nominee, a 14 percent plurality say Bachmann would do the most damage, and 11 percent say Ron Paul would be the worst. Nine percent say Perry would do the most harm.

Romney and Cain, however, are seen as the two candidates most likely to improve the economy. 17 percent of adults and 22 percent of those who lean Republican say Romney would make the economy better. 10 percent of adults and 20 percent of GOP voters say Cain would help matters. 7 percent of adults believe Perry would ameliorate the economic situation, as do 12 percent of GOP voters.

Americans are skeptical that a Republican president would make any difference in their personal fortunes or the state of an economy. 45 percent believe the economic situation would be the same if a Republican were president, while just 23 percent believe it would be better, and 25 percent say it would be worse. Asked whether their family’s financial situation would change if a Republican were elected in 2012, 44 percent said it would make no difference.

Nonetheless, the economic situation is forefront on the public’s mind, and 52 percent of adults believe that another financial crisis is likely to occur in the next couple of years.

Mitt Romney is the most likely to get the chance to work his magic on the economy, according to the poll, which found 24 percent of those who lean Republican want him as the nominee. 16 percent say they would prefer Cain, and 13 percent say they Rick Perry. (RELATED: Gallup poll: Cain surges to statistical tie with Romney)

The poll echoes results of other polls that show Cain rising through the ranks as Perry falls. The Republican debate Tuesday in New Hampshire sponsored by Washington Post and Bloomberg will give Cain the opportunity to capitalize on his momentum and Perry the opportunity to reverse his fortunes.

Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,000 adults, including a sample of 391 Republicans and Republican leaning independents, from October 6 to October 9. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, and the margin of error for the Republican sample is plus or minus 6 percentage points.