Michelle Bachmann Doing Well In Iowa

Jun 27, 2011

By Jackie Kucinich, USA TODAY

WATERLOO, Iowa — Presidential contender Rep. Michele Bachmann received some good news on the eve of her formal campaign announcement: Iowans like her.

In a poll in The Des Moines Register on Sunday, 22% of likely caucusgoers said Bachmann, R-Minn., would be their choice for the GOP nomination, putting her only 1 percentage point behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

Not only are her poll numbers competitive, 65% of those surveyed said they have a favorable view of Bachmann, while 12% said they had an unfavorable view of her and 23% were “not sure.”

J. Ann Selzer, director of The Des Moines Register poll, said the “stars have aligned” for Bachmann, but keeping those high numbers as the scrutiny intensifies will be the tough part.
STORY: Poll: Romney, Bachmann lead in Iowa

“She hasn’t been to Iowa all that much but has built name recognition very quickly,” Selzer said. “She wowed the people that matter.”

Bachmann will officially announce the start of her presidential campaign today in her birthplace of Waterloo after a “Welcome Home” event Sunday night.

Craig Robinson, a former political director for the Republican Party of Iowa, said the favorable poll numbers may have to do with the fact the poll was conducted June 19-22, soon after Bachmann’s stand-out performance in CNN’s Republican debate in New Hampshire.

“While she has the most potential, she also has a lot of work to do,” Robinson said. “She is basically leading the field in Iowa without having held a single campaign event of her own in the state. That means her support, while currently impressive, is also relatively soft.”

Potential Republican caucusgoers also indicated they had not quite made up their minds, with 69% said they were open to swinging their their support elsewhere before the Feb. 6 caucuses.

Hours before the rally, Bachmann said she was cautiously optimistic about the poll results during back-to-back interviews on the Sunday talk shows.

“We are gratified, but we know it’s still a long road ahead,” Bachmann said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Selzer described Romney’s poll numbers as a “non-event.”

“He has some residual good will, but his negatives are still pretty high,” she said. “This may be his best showing.”

Romney’s favorable rating was 52%, and 38% viewed him unfavorably.

Romney announced this month that he would not be competing in the Ames Straw Poll, a contest on which he spent millions in the 2008 presidential election cycle only to come in second to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

The news is not as good for former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty. Despite the time and resources Pawlenty has spent in the state, he received the support of only 6% in the poll, behind former House speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas.

Pawlenty recently released a series of television ads, but they began running after the poll had been conducted.


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