Although Texas Gov. Rick Perry has led in Republican voter preference in every national poll taken since he announced his candidacy on Aug. 13, Rep. Michele Bachmann insists on remaining nonchalant about his surge to the top of the polls. Once a close second in the 2012 GOP presidential nomination polls to frontrunner Mitt Romney, the Tea Party Caucus leader has slid to third and fourth places in various polls. But she believes she has the endurance capability to go the distance — and win.
“This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Bachmann told Fox News. “And I’m very confident that we’re doing all the right things to be the Republican nominee.”
It is an attitude taken with the knowledge that the latest poll, this one commissioned by an arguably more sympathetic Fox News (it must be remembered that Fox News Channel was key in highlighting the rise of the tea party movement), indicates Bachmann is slowing sliding behind other Republican candidates — and not just Gov. Perry. She polled 4 percent support from the Republican voter respondents, a good distance behind the Texan, who scored a 26 percent among the potential primary voters.
But the recent one or two-point deficit Bachmann enjoyed (behind previous frontrunner, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney) shortly after her impressive showing at the first Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire also seems to have somehow been negated. Romney, who polled second behind Perry in the Fox News poll, posted 18 percent support. In fact, Bachmann placed fifth behind an undeclared Sarah Palin (8 percent) and Texas Congressman Ron Paul (7 percent).
She also placed fifth in the last Gallup poll. She only posted a slightly higher fourth position in several other polls. And all within days of winning the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa — a victory she called “stunning” — on the same day Rick Perry announced his candidacy.
But was it “stunning” as in she was amazed that she won? Or “stunning” as in barely winning an election where she gave out $180,000-worth in tickets to prospective voters and only managed to defeat Rep. Paul — who spent far less — by 152 votes?
Could the national polls simply be the reality compared to the hype and undeserved emphasis placed on the Ames Straw Poll?
Or could the congresswoman be correct in that she has an actual shot at winning the nomination “marathon?” Perry did surge out of the box after his announcement, garnering double-digit leads in the polls. But a second round of polls released during the second and third weeks of his candidacy have seen his lead fall to single digits in two polls (Quinnipiac and Fox News).
And what might happen to Bachmann supporters, many of whom are also Palin enthusiasts, should the Alaska governor decide to enter the 2012 presidential race? Will Bachmann somehow gain support (an unlikely scenario) or lose even more ground, perhaps comparable to that lost with the introduction of Perry into the race (a candidate whose positions are much like her own and undoubtedly siphoned some of Bachmann’s support)?
The three-term tea party representative can feign detachment and confidence all she wants, but poll numbers present her as a runner quick off the blocks but losing her stride. Although the presidential primary season can rightfully be likened to a marathon rather than a sprint, Michele Bachmann’s campaign already seems in dire need of a second wind. The questions then must be: Will she get one, and, if so, will it be enough to propel her into the lead?