Under the headline “Bachmann in Strong Position as She Enters 2012 Race,” Gallup reports that the Minnesota congresswoman “enters the race with 69% name recognition among Republicans and ties for the highest Positive Intensity Score of any GOP candidate Gallup tracks.”
(Gallup defines “positive intensity” as the percentage of those who strongly favor the candidate minus the percentage that strongly opposes him or her.)
Note that Newt Gingrich, one of the best known of the GOP candidates, has a positive intensity rating of 2 among his fellow Republicans. And Tim Pawlenty is turning out to be the kind of man who can’t excite anyone but his dog back home, if he has one. With a PIR of 8, he trails even Rick Santorum. (In GOP presidential politics, Santorum serves as the equivalent of baseball’s Mario Mendoza.)
Pawlenty is counting on performing well in Iowa, but after weeks of working the state, he’s still at just 6 percent in the Register poll. It ain’t happening for TPaw.
According to a Register analysis of its poll:
Bachmann, 55, rates the strongest with very conservative caucusgoers, along with those who are well-educated and ages 45 to 64.
More respondents pick her as their second choice, 18 percent, than name Romney, 10 percent.
“Michele Bachmann has always looked like a fit for Iowa on paper, and the debate likely helped solidify her standing,” pollster J. Ann Selzer said. “This poll confirms she has potential to do very well here.”
Me, I’m not buying it. I’ll admit to being surprised by the degree of discipline that Bachmann has demonstrated to date, but it won’t last. In the harsh glare of the national spotlight, wackiness will out itself in time.
As Ron Carey, a former chief of staff for Bachmann and now a Pawlenty backer, writes in the Register:
“The Bachmann campaign and congressional offices I inherited were wildly out of control. Stacks upon stacks of unopened contributions filled the campaign office while thousands of communications from citizens waited for an answer. If she is unable, or unwilling, to handle the basic duties of a campaign or congressional office, how could she possibly manage the magnitude of the presidency?”
For the time being, people are enamored of Bachmann because she is saying things they like to hear (the same trend drove the early support for Herman Cain.) But like Cain, she is not someone to be taken seriously as a potential occupant of the White House.
– Jay Bookman