Bachman Leads GOP Dark Horse Pack

April 30, 2011

Rasmussen Reports

What if they held a Republican Primary contest and the front-runners didn’t show up? Or what if voters look for anybody but the front-runner? How do primary voters view the dark horses who are possible contenders for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination?

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters finds that Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann earns 27% support when pitted against eight other possible second-tier candidates. Former Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania earns 12% of the vote, while Georgia businessman Herman Cain picks up nine percent (9%).

Texas Governor Rick Perry gets seven percent (7%) of the likely primary vote, followed by Jon Huntsman, former Utah governor and ex-ambassador to China, with three percent (3%) backing. Former Louisiana Governor Buddy Roemer, retired New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Michigan Congressman Thaddeus McCotter each pick up one percent (1%) of the vote.

But 17% prefer some other candidate not listed here, and 22% are undecided when faced with this slate of candidates. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

The survey of 1,000 Likely GOP Primary Voters was conducted on April 26, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. Likely GOP Primary Voters include both Republicans and unaffiliated voters likely to vote in a GOP Primary. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. Seemethodology.

Billionaire developer and reality TV show star Donald Trump holds a slight lead over Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee among the candidates who are getting most of the media attention at this stage.

Romney and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are nearly dead-even in the 2012 Republican presidential race if Trump, Huckabee and Sarah Palin end up not running or stumble in the early going.

But it’s critical to note that the game is largely about name-recognition at this very early stage of the contest.

Bachmann’s support climbs to 31% among unaffiliated voters who are likely to vote in a Republican primary.

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