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Obama leads Bachmann 51-33 in early head-to-head poll

Rep. Michele Bachmann remains a national unknown, with just 53 percent saying they know enough about her to have an opinion about her.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Rep. Michele Bachmann remains a national unknown, with just 53 percent saying they know enough about her to have an opinion about her.

DES MOINES, Iowa — President Obama leads Michele Bachmann 51-33 in a hypothetical 2012 presidential matchup, in the first national head-to-head poll involving the Minnesota congresswoman.

The poll, released Thursday morning, comes a day before Bachmann is scheduled to speak at an Iowans for Tax Relief event here, and less than a month after news of her possible interest in a presidential run leaked.

The poll of 642 registered voters was taken from Jan. 14-16 by Public Policy Polling, which was rated one of the most accurate pollsters in the 2010 election by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com and the New York Times.

Public Policy Polling

While she’s certainly one of the most prominent members of the House, and a leading voice in the Tea Party, Bachmann remains a national unknown, with just 53 percent saying they know enough about her to have an opinion about her. Nationally, 22 percent favor her, while 31 percent don’t.

“There are just as many Americans with an opinion about Michele Bachmann as [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell.,” wrote PPP’s Tom Jensen on Twitter in advance of the release. 

Obama led all candidates in the PPP poll, besting Mitt Romney 48-43, Mike Huckabee 49-44, Newt Gingrich 51-49 and Sarah Palin 55-38.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has been laying the groundwork for a presidential run for months, was not included in the poll. Bachmann was included as this month’s “bonus Republican,” Jensen said, chosen for inclusion based on a vote on PPP’s website.

Other tidbits on Bachmann from the survey:

  • Bachmann has a wide lead (64-16) among conservatives, while Obama dominates (90-3) among liberals. Self-described “moderate” voters break for the president 66-16.
  • Among white voters only, Bachmann trails Obama by just three points, 42-39. The gap widens to 51-33 because of the president’s massive leads among racial minority voters.
  • Bachmann does better with women who know her, but she’s better known among men.
  • Bachmann is best liked by those aged 30-45, and by seniors. Her favorability ratings are even with the 30-45s, and she scores 25 favorable/28 unfavorable with seniors.
  • There’s a ton of room to grow for Bachmann, as a large number of registered voters, including a majority of women and most of those 45 and younger, don’t know or have an opinion of her one way or the other.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Don Jacobson on 01/20/2011 - 11:58 am.

    I understand why pollsters feel compelled to conduct such a poll. But, as an Obama fan, it seems a little insulting to even compare to two.

  2. Submitted by Patricia Gundersen on 01/20/2011 - 01:03 pm.

    That the President leads Bachman in a poll is a no-brainer.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 01/20/2011 - 03:38 pm.

    This is not good. For Obama.

    That he only gets 51% against a relatively unknown congressperson should be embarassing.

    And the fact that 17% are “undecided” means that, as studies show, they would break for the challenger once they were inside the voting booth. If they haven’t decided whether or not the want Obama after two years, they probably don’t.

  4. Submitted by Jean Schiebel on 01/20/2011 - 03:43 pm.

    It is upsetting to see Bachman even being considered by 30 something percent.
    I thought the electorate was much smarter then that other then die hard Republicans,
    who are these people???

  5. Submitted by chuck holtman on 01/20/2011 - 04:25 pm.

    Among white voters, they are essentially even (42-39).

    I agree with Mr Tester. That Mr Obama only gets 51% against a relatively unknown (and deeply unserious) congressperson, and runs even with her among the palefolk, is embarrassing.

    Not for Mr Obama.

    I weep for my country, and particularly (and literally) for my own daughters.

  6. Submitted by Terry McDanel on 01/20/2011 - 08:02 pm.

    What is even more dramatic is that Bachmann is obviously closing the lead.

  7. Submitted by rolf westgard on 01/21/2011 - 02:24 am.

    I think we have about one third of the country in the anti-tax, anti-governemtn category. they have all heard of Bachmann. In an election a few more would go for Bachmann giving the result of the Obama Palin poll. Those undecideds have heard of Palin. So don’t panic. We have not gone completely crazy.

  8. Submitted by Eric T on 01/21/2011 - 01:32 pm.

    I don’t agree with the reader’s comment referencing the “palefolk”. You’re reducing the white vote to simply about skin color instead of some more deeply held convictions about tax and government.

    As we head towards the 2012 election, every news outlet is going to be covering the viability of republican candidates. Palin and Bachmann are easy for journalists to write about, because their positions require less understanding and research. If Minnpost really wants to cover politics that would gain my respect, I think they should concentrate more on issues and candidates that have deeper policy philosophies.

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