Michigan native Mitt Romney and tea party star Michele Bachmann have an early edge against Republican presidential rivals in the key state of Iowa, according to new poll of likely Republican Iowa caucus-goers.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor who placed second in the first-of-the-nation caucus state in the 2008 Republican nomination battle, garnered 23 percent of support while Bachmann received 22 percent, according to the poll conducted for The Des Moines Register. The poll comes about eight months before the Iowa caucuses, which will be held Feb. 6 and mark the kickoff of the nomination process.
The poll did not test support for Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia, because he hasn't decided whether he will enter the presidential race. Those polled were allowed to add their preference for candidates not yet announced, but none named McCotter, Des Moines Register political columnist Kathie Obradovich told The News....The big winner of the poll is Iowa native and Minnesota congresswoman Bachmann, who formally launches her campaign Monday in Waterloo, her birthplace. The poll's big loser was former Minnesota Tim Pawlenty, who netted just 6 percent of support despite setting up a big organization in the state in his effort to position himself up as the best establishment alternative to Romney.
"This is very important for Michele Bachmann," said Grand Valley State University political science professor Erika King. "It gives her more of a sense to say, 'Look, I have the backing of actual voters polled.' It helps with media coverage and with fundraising."
Michael Traugott, a political science professor at the University of Michigan, said McCotter faces an uphill battle in Iowa should he decide to run for president.
"He is starting too late. Most of the good (political) resources are gone," Traugott said. "This is why it is getting too late for Sarah Palin, who has name recognition and can raise money, but all of the biggest consultants and organizers have been taken up by others."
But Grand Valley's King said McCotter, by elevating his name recognition and stature as a national figure, could enhance his chances of being considered as by the eventual Republican presidential nominee for his or her vice presidential running mate. "That has happened before," she said.
At Politico, Mike Allen reminds us that early Iowa polls do not necessarily predict the outcome:
"The Register’s headline on its first poll of the 2008 cycle (May 2007): “Edwards, Romney lead early.” In case you missed it, the resounding Iowa caucus winners were Obama and Huckabee. (Giuliani was tied for second with McCain!)"