Cain, Huntsman, Bachmann, Pawlenty Gain Most in Recognition

by Frank Newport

Conservative Republicans more familiar with almost all candidates than are moderates/liberals

PRINCETON, NJ -- Herman Cain, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann, and Tim Pawlenty have gained the most in name recognition so far this year of any of the Republican presidential candidates Gallup tracks.

Trends in Recognition, Candidates for 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination (Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman, Pawlenty)

Each of the four has gained between 18 and 27 percentage points in recognition among Republicans since March of this year, although each began with different base levels of name ID.

Georgia businessman Cain was known to only 21% of Republicans in March. His 27-point rise to a 48% recognition level in the two weeks ending July 3 is the largest recognition gain of any candidate so far this year.

Minnesota Rep. Bachmann was recognized by 54% of Republicans in March, and her name recognition has steadily gained since, to the current 74%.

Former Utah Gov. Huntsman had the same low name recognition in March as Cain. Huntsman's gains since have been significant, albeit smaller than Cain's, with a current 42% name identification level. Huntsman, however, did not officially enter the race until June 21.

Former Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty's name recognition is at 58% today, up significantly from 40% in March.

Johnson's and Santorum's Name Recognition Scores Essentially Static

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum have essentially flat-lined in terms of name recognition over the past four months. Johnson is the least well-known candidate Gallup tracks, at 20% -- up only slightly from 14% in March. Santorum began with 46% recognition and, despite active campaigning since, is at virtually the same level (49%) today.

Trends in Recognition, Candidates for 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination (Johnson, Santorum)

Palin, Gingrich, Romney, and Paul Remain Well Known

Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney, and Ron Paul have consistently been the most well-known GOP candidates over the past four months, although with little change in their name recognition.

Former vice presidential nominee Palin began this year with almost universal name recognition, which she has retained in the months since.

Two men with extensive political histories -- Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney -- were known by about 85% of Republicans in March and, despite extensive news coverage of their campaigns in the months since, remain at about that level today.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, who is making his third run for president (as a Libertarian in 1988 and as a Republican in 2008), has consistently been recognized by about three-quarters of Republicans.

Trends in Recognition, Candidates/Potential Candidates for 2012 Republican Presidential Nomination (Gingrich, Palin, Paul, Romney)

Name Recognition Levels Higher Among Conservative Republicans

Conservative Republicans are more familiar with almost all of their party's candidates -- regardless of their individual recognition levels -- than are moderate/liberal Republicans, underscoring the importance of the conservative GOP vote in next year's caucuses and primaries.

Conservative Republicans appear to be the most important to Santorum, as they are 24 percentage points more likely to recognize him than are moderate/liberal members of the party -- the largest such margin for any candidate. At the other end of the spectrum is Johnson, who receives a one-point higher recognition level from conservatives than from moderates/liberals.

Recognition: Conservative vs. Moderate/Liberal Republicans, Late June/Early July 2011


Potential and announced Republican candidates such as Palin, Gingrich, and Romney begin this year with the decided advantage of being known to the vast majority of potential Republican voters nationwide. Their campaign objectives are thus focused in large part on their image among and appeal to Republicans, rather than the need to break through the campaign media clutter to establish basic name identification.

Other candidates, however, face the major challenge of expanding their recognition in the effort to become household names to rank-and-file Republicans. Bachmann has been one of the biggest successes along these lines so far; her name recognition has climbed from about half to about three-quarters of all Republicans over the last four months.

Three other Republican candidates began with lower recognition scores than Bachmann, but have also become better known as the race has unfolded. Pawlenty is now known to almost 6 in 10 Republicans, while Cain is known to about half and Huntsman to about 4 in 10. Cain's gain of 27 points in recognition since March has been the largest of any candidate so far.

The two candidates who have struggled most to expand their visibility so far this year have been Johnson and Santorum, whose name recognition scores today are not much higher than they were four months ago.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking June 20-July 3, 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.

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

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