Perry Pushes Bachmann Into Fourth Place In New Poll

Rick Perry's entry into the race could quickly turn the 2012 GOP fight into a two man race.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Center poll seems to confirm that Rick Perry entering the race, which now seems certain, would be bad news for Michele Bachmann:

As Rick Perry moves closer and closer to a run for the White House, a new national survey indicates that the longtime Texas governor is close to the top of the pack in the hunt for the Republican presidential nomination.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll, 15 percent of Republicans and independents who lean towards the GOP pick Perry as their first choice for their party’s nomination, just two points behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s making his second bid for the White House. Romney’s two point margin over Perry is within the survey’s sampling error.


The survey indicates that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who is making his third bid for the White House, are at 12 percent apiece. While both Giuliani, who ran for the presidency four years ago, and Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee in 2008, have flirted with bids, neither has taken concrete steps towards launching a campaign.

According to the poll, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has the support of seven percent, with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at five percent, both former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain and former Utah Gov. and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman at four percent, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at two percent. Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and Rep. Thad McCotter of Michigan both register at less than one half of one percent.

If the choices are pared down to exclude Giuliani and Palin, Romney remains at the top of the list, with 23 percent, followed by Perry at 18 percent and Paul at 14 percent. The survey indicates Bachmann at nine percent, Gingrich one point back, Cain and Huntsman at five percent, Pawlenty and Santorum at three percent and Johnson and McCotter both registering at less than one half of one percent.

The highlighted results are the ones to pay attention to, I think, since that’s how the field is likely to pan out in the end. As I’ve suspected for a long time, Perry entering the race pretty much puts the death knell in the campaigns of candidates like Pawlenty, Santorum, and Cain, all of whom appeal to the same combination of Tea Party and socially conservative voters that seem to be rallying around Perry.

What’s interesting, and somewhat unexpected, is the extent to which Perry’s entrance into the race  has impacted Bachmann, at least in this poll. She goes from an solid 2nd place against Romney, to 4th behind Ron Paul. Perhaps this is an indication of the Tea Party crowd rallying around a candidate that seems to have a much better chance of winning not only the GOP nomination, but the General Election. Whether this latter part is true remains to be seen, of course. In the CNN poll, Perry and Bachmann both perform about the same in a head-to-head match-up against the President. In fact, the only actual or prospective candidate who beats Obama in a head-to-head race is Rudy Giuliani, and he has no chance of winning the GOP nomination. Even Romney only manages to tie the President.

I’m not sure what to make of the fact that Ron Paul is at 14%. It seems entirely unlikely that he’d win a primary this time around, much less the nomination. Nonetheless stranger things have happened, especially in Iowa. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a better-than-expected Paul performance at Saturday’s Ames Straw Poll, for example, and the caucuses themselves are well suited to campaign filled with energetic supporters. Nonetheless, I cannot conceive that Paul is really a factor in this race.

If this poll is any guide, then the entry of Rick Perry in this race could quickly turn the GOP race into a two man race. That’s bad news for everyone who wanted to be seen as the anti-Romney, and it may not be good news for Romney either.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. hey norm says:


  2. Fargus says:

    I think that what might be a better indication would be polling in the early primary states. I know that in the Democratic primaries things didn’t quite shake out the way everybody expected them to, and if Bachmann puts up a strong performance in Iowa and a stronger-than-expected performance in New Hampshire, there’s a not-insignificant chance that she could stay in this thing for a good little while. This poll doesn’t factor in the power of momentum.

  3. Ben Wolf says:

    It’s choosing one god-humper over another. I don’t see how Perry’s flavor of Jeebus mania is better than Bachmann’s.

  4. hey norm says:

    Seeing as Ben raised Perry’s extreme religious views…check out this Texas Observer article:
    I’m not sayin’ these guys aren’t modern apostles and prophets…or that they don’t have a direct line of communication to a timeless – yet infinitely old, undetectable – yet infinitely powerful alien intellect that for some reason thrives on the devout worship of human beings…I’m just sayin’.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    John Cole nails it:

    I guarantee you that Perry will be the nominee. He’s the right kind of ignorant, bigoted, religious nut that will attract the religious fanatics, he’s a gun loving cheerleader who speaks the secessionist code and the teabaggers will love him, he’ll talk constantly about deregulation and lower taxes and the money will be on board,

  6. ponce says:

    I don’t see how Perry’s flavor of Jeebus mania is better than Bachmann’s.

    Perry’s got better hair.

  7. mike says:

    oh shit — another disaster from Texas – I mean seriously – how many more times can this country watch someone run the state of Texas the way they did and then elect them to run the entire country.

    Please oh please let it be Romney
    If it is going to be someone from Texas, at least pick a character like Kinky Friedman.

  8. ponce says:

    It’s hard to see Perry doing well outside the Confederacy in the general election with so many videos of him spouting off about succession and Jeebus floating around, not to mention the ones of him and and Geroge W. huggin’ and kissin’.

  9. hey norm says:

    @ Ponce..
    In addition to the religious nonsense, the success stories of Perry’s Texas seem much less so if you look closely. For instance most of the jobs he “created” were stolen from other states. Now that works OK if you are a Govenor of a single State and have an unregulated slush fund for such bribery, but doesn’t translate so well to a Presidency that is responsible for all 57 States.
    Now this assumes a media willing to look deeper than his hairstyle – which is not in any way guaranteed. So it’s all still up for grabs.

  10. Steve Verdon says:

    And there was much rejoicing….

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    I haven’t said it in a while, so I guess it’s time to say it again: the nominee will be Palin.

    The tea party crowd will not forgive Perry for once being a Democrat. And not just a Democrat: an Al Gore Democrat. How many people do they hate more than Gore? Not many.

    Right now most Rs telling pollsters they like Perry probably don’t even know this about him.

  12. WR says:

    @hey norm: Especially since moderate-paying jobs disappear from other states and show up in Texas as minimum wage gigs.

  13. Fiona says:

    Not at all surprised that Perry is eating into Bachman’s support. I doubt that his once being a Democrat is going to matter in the slightest. Saint Reagan was once a Democrat as well. Converts tend to be a lot more zealous than those who never played for the other side.

  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    Saint Reagan was once a Democrat as well.

    That’s a good point. You might be right that it won’t matter. On the other hand, I think Reagan would not be welcome in today’s GOP (after all, he raised taxes a bunch of times), so I’m not sure the Reagan precedent is still that relevant.

    I agree that Perry has a lot of features that will be attractive to the tea party, and I’d be perfectly happy if he gets nominated. I think his ability to beat Obama is only slightly better than Palin’s.