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.
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.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's newly official presidential bid drew fresh eyes Tuesday after complimentary reviews of her performance in a face-off with her Republican rivals.
Several CNN analysts declared her one of the winners of the CNN-sponsored New Hampshire GOP debate Monday night, while House Speaker John Boehner said the third-term congresswoman "did a really good job last night."
"I think she is a bright member of our caucus," Boehner told reporters. "It's one of the reasons why I appointed her to the Intelligence Committee."
During her relatively short time in Washington, Bachmann has staked out a position on the far right and made some gaffes that have made her the butt of critics' jokes. She has accused Obama of forcing "tyranny" on Americans, earning CNN contributor John Avlon's "Wingnut of the Year" award in 2009. She has been complimented as the next Sarah Palin and dismissed as "a poor man's Sarah Palin," as Meghan McCain, the tart-tongued daughter of the 2008 GOP presidential nominee, put it in February.
But underestimating Bachmann would be a mistake, University of Minnesota political science professor Larry Jacobs said.
"She's very strategically smart," Jacobs said. "Michele Bachmann has taken on the political establishment throughout her career and has prevailed each time."
Republicans nationwide are closely divided between those preferring that their party's 2012 presidential nominee be the person with the best chance of beating President Barack Obama and those favoring someone who shares their views on the issues they most care about. Given this choice, slightly more prioritize electability over issue agreement, 50% vs. 44%.
This sentiment appears to differ from what was the case leading up to the 2008 presidential election. Two Gallup polls conducted in late 2007 found the slight majority of Republicans saying issue agreement would be the more important factor to their vote, while about 4 in 10 chose electability.
The June 8-11, 2011, USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted with 851 Republicans and independents who lean Republican, shows Mitt Romney and Sarah Palin leading Republicans' vote preferences for 2012, with 24% and 16% support, respectively.