According to the latest PPP poll Michele Bachmann is on a roll, but all that could change if Sarah Palin enters the race.
PPP polled Republicans in both Oregon and Montana, and in both states Michele Bachmann has surged to lead over frontrunner Mitt Romney, as long as Sarah Palin does not enter the race. If Palin doesn’t run Bachmann leads Romney 29%-28% followed by Ron Paul (10%), Newt Gingrich (9%), Herman Cain (7%), Tim Pawlenty (6%), and Jon Huntsman (2%).
Should Palin enter the race, she and Bachmann would split the non-Romney vote. With Palin in, Romney leads Bachmann, 28%-18%. Sarah Palin would be third at 16%. Ron Paul would be fourth at 9% followed by Cain (8%), and Gingrich and Pawlenty (6% each). Palin cuts into Bachmann’s lead with very conservative voters. Without Palin, this group goes 37%-26% for Bachmann over Romney. Bachmann margin over Romney is sliced to virtually nothing with Sarah Palin in the contest, 24%-22%.
If Sarah Palin is a candidate in Montana, the GOP primary becomes a three way race. Palin leads Bachmann 20%-18%, with Mitt Romney third at 17%. None of the other GOP contenders break 10%. In a two way contest without Palin, Bachmann leads Romney 25%-22%. Newt Gingrich would be third with 11%. Bachmann has firmly entrenched herself as a co-frontrunner in Oregon where she has matched Mitt Romney’s 54% favorable rating with Republicans. However, both Romney and Bachmann aren’t as popular as Palin in the state. Sarah Palin leads the field with a 67% favorable rating among Republicans.
In Montana, Sarah Palin blows out her competition in terms of popularity. She carried a 72% favorable rating with the state’s Republicans. Michele Bachmann was second with a 50% favorable rating, and Mitt Romney was third with a 47% favorable rating.
Sarah Palin may not be able to win the Republican nomination, and if she enters the race Michele Bachmann won’t either. The two women have been endlessly compared to one another by pundits this year, but at least in Oregon and Montana, they are fighting for the support of the same voters.
If Palin does enter the race, she will fragment Michele Bachmann’s base of support and if this happens, Mitt Romney is the clear winner. Think of the contest like a NASCAR race. As Bachmann and Palin get tied up in a battle for second, frontrunner Mitt Romney would be extending his lead on the rest of the field.
Just as Bachmann’s entry into the race has stopped Herman Cain’s momentum, a Sarah Palin candidacy would probably grind Michele Bachmann’s to a halt. What Sarah Palin’s fans don’t want to admit is that many of their fellow Palin supporters are already throwing their support behind Bachmann. If Sarah Palin is serious about running she had best get into the field soon, or most of her would be support will belong to Michele Bachmann.
Both women would be dueling it out for the same supporters. (It would be interesting to see how many of these same Republicans supported Mike Huckabee in 2008. My guess is that the voters that they would be fighting over are the Huckabee supporters). Should they both be in the race they will be trying to occupy the same political turf, and there aren’t enough votes to go around for both of them.
Michele Bachmann could make Sarah Palin so 2008. If Palin wants to keep her brand, her relevancy, and her license to print money based on her name, she had better get into the 2012 race.
Bachmann looks like the legit Romney alternative for Republicans. The only thing that could stop her from possibly beating Romney is Sarah Palin’s endless need for attention and limelight pushing her into the 2012 GOP race to do nothing more than make sure that Michele Bachmann doesn’t win.