Bachmann Begins With Above-Average Recognition, Intensity

by Frank Newport

Ties Romney on positive intensity; both trail Cain

PRINCETON, NJ -- Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who formally announced her presidential candidacy at Monday night's Republican debate in New Hampshire, is currently recognized by 62% of Republicans nationwide. Her Positive Intensity Score of 18 essentially ties the better-known Mitt Romney's 19.

Potential GOP Candidate Images Among Republicans and Republican-Leaning Independents

Seven prospective GOP presidential nominees participated in the nationally televised debate at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire, including Rick Santorum, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Herman Cain, in addition to Bachmann and Romney. Any impact of the debate on Republicans' views of the candidates would not be reflected in Gallup's May 30-June 12 daily tracking update.

Bachmann's 62% recognition score is up from 52% earlier this year, but has not changed in recent weeks. Her current Positive Intensity Score is essentially tied as the second highest for the 10 candidates Gallup tracks, although down from her high of 23 in mid-May.

Romney has emerged in recent weeks as the GOP front-runner. His Positive Intensity Score among Republicans who recognize him has risen to 19, his highest since late March/early April. Romney's and Bachmann's Positive Intensity Scores remain well behind Herman Cain's 28, although Cain's 41% recognition is significantly lower than Bachmann's and Romney's. Romney is known by 84% of Republicans.

The other four participants in Monday night's debate face challenges in terms of either their name recognition or their ability to generate enthusiasm among Republicans.

Former Speaker of the House Gingrich is one of the three best-known Republicans measured, but he has not been able to reverse the recent slide in his image, most of which occurred before a number of members of his campaign staff quit en masse last week. For the second week in a row, the former speaker of the House's Positive Intensity Score is 4, the second lowest of any candidate measured, ahead of only former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson's -2.

Pawlenty and Santorum are recognized by 54% and 48% of Republicans, respectively. Both have similar, average to below-average Positive Intensity Scores -- Santorum's at 9 and Pawlenty's at 11. Neither politician yet shows signs of emerging as a significant challenger to Romney.

Paul, the 12-term congressman from Texas, has a 77% recognition score among Republicans, but a single-digit Positive Intensity Score of 8.

Three Republicans measured in Gallup's tracking -- Sarah Palin, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and Johnson -- did not participate in Monday's debate.

Palin -- who is recognized by 95% of Republicans nationwide -- has not announced whether she is running for president. The former vice presidential candidate's Positive Intensity Score of 15 puts her in fourth place, behind Cain, Romney, and Bachmann.

Huntsman has campaigned in New Hampshire in recent weeks, but declined to participate in the debate. He is recognized by 32% of Republicans, low on an absolute basis, but up from 20% earlier this year. His Positive Intensity Score is 5.

Johnson did not meet the criteria established by the debate organizers to participate. He is the least recognized of any candidate measured, with the lowest overall Positive Intensity Score.

Bottom Line

The race for the GOP nomination is beginning to solidify, with seven officially announced candidates participating in the nationally televised debate in New Hampshire Monday night. Although the debate was a significant event for candidates, political pundits, and insiders, it will not be clear for a week or two whether it made any difference in the thinking of rank-and-file Republicans outside of the host state. There did not appear to be any major "bombshell" statements -- or misstatements -- at the debate, although lasting impressions of debates are often formed only after the news media coalesces on their one or two major post-debate talking points.

Romney at this juncture is in the strongest position -- given his high name recognition, rising Positive Intensity Score, and top position in Gallup's trial heat measure. Former businessman Cain still generates significantly more positive intensity among Republicans who know him than does Romney, but Cain has only a 41% recognition level and trails Romney and Palin in Republicans' current nominee preferences. Newly announced candidate Bachmann's Positive Intensity Score has fallen back slightly in recent weeks, but she still ranks near the top on this measure. Palin has the virtue of nearly universal name recognition, and while her Positive Intensity Score is above average, it trails Romney's.

None of the other Republicans have yet been able to mount significant positive momentum on Gallup's candidate measures. Pawlenty and Santorum face challenges with their recognition and Positive Intensity Scores. Paul is well known but his Positive Intensity Score remains in single digits. Gingrich is clearly way out of favor with Republicans, with the second lowest Positive Intensity Score measured.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking May 30-June 12, 2011, with random samples of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Questions asking about the 10 potential candidates measured in this research were rotated among randomly selected samples of Republicans each night; over the 14-day period, each candidate was rated by a minimum of 1,500 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

For the overall ratings of each potential candidate among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, including recognition scores, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. For the Positive Intensity Score for each candidate, the maximum margin of sampling error varies depending on the size of the group recognizing the candidate.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.

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