New poll shows shrinking support for Michele Bachmann

REUTERS/Jason Reed
Rep. Michele Bachmann has seen her support among independent voters slide, according to a new Democratic poll.

Despite her national fan base and a massive war chest, Rep. Michele Bachmann may be in more danger than most suspect, with a new poll showing her lead diminished to just 2 points.

Independent voters have swung against her by nearly 20 points in just two months, from a 4 percent advantage to a 15-point disadvantage.

Jim Graves
Jim Graves

The internal poll, conducted by Democratic pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner at the behest of Democrat Jim Graves’ campaign and shared with Salon, shows that Bachmann’s favorability rating has tumbled since their last survey in mid-June, and finds Graves gaining ground with independents as his name recognition grows.

Overall, the poll shows Bachmann leading Graves 48 to 46 percent, within the margin of error. The race has moved significantly among independents, with a 20-point net shift toward Graves, from a 41 to 45 percent disadvantage in June to a 52 to 37 percent lead now.

Among independents, Bachmann’s favorability rating has slipped 4 points while her unfavorability rating has jumped 7 points. Overall, she’s viewed mostly negatively. Among all voters, 40 percent give her a positive job rating, while a sizable 57 percent give her a negative one, with a plurality of 35 percent giving the most negative answer possible — “poor.”

Graves’ campaign manager (and son) Adam Graves told Salon that the numbers show his candidate is well positioned to beat Bachmann. “Obviously, we’re very excited about it. The first thing that’s notable is that obviously her recent comments, the stories that she’s created for herself, have really hurt her among folks in the middle,” he said. Bachmann, who had tried to keep a lower profile after aborting her presidential bid, grabbed headlines this summer for her implication that Muslims in the U.S. government may be secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood.

As we argued last month, Graves has the best shot at beating Bachmann of any Democrat since the congresswoman was first elected in 2006, thanks in large part to the absence of a third-party candidate. In previous races, those candidates have captured as much as 10 percent of the vote, siphoning votes away from the challenger. While some observers were skeptical that much of that 10 percent would break toward a Democrat, the Graves campaign said the new poll shows clearly that that fear has not materialized, as independents are moving towards its candidate.

The poll also show that Graves’ name ID in the district has jumped 20 points, though he’s still largely unknown at 38 percent. Meanwhile, Bachmann is known by 99 percent of voters. That will make it harder for Bachmann to change peoples’ perceptions about her, while Graves should be able to influence people who do not yet have an opinion of him.

“If every time we pick up 20 percent on voter ID, we pick up 20 percent of the independents, then by the time we’ve reached a place where we’re happy with 80 percent ID or whatever, we realize that we’re going to be in a position to win,” Adam Graves said.  ”This race is neck-and-neck.”

There’s been no other public polling of the district, though it’s reasonable to assume that the Bachmann campaign has commissioned its own surveys. The fact that none have been released suggests that Bachmann’s numbers also do not bode well for her. Meanwhile, she underperformed in her Republican primary last month.

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon’s political reporter. Email him at, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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Comments (11)

  1. Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 09/10/2012 - 05:13 pm.

    I suppose….

    It might have something to do with her not doing her job. She has missed more votes than any other House member.

  2. Submitted by Rob Jones on 09/10/2012 - 05:40 pm.


    I think it’s time to donate a little cash to Jim Graves and maybe help out with the GOTV effort in the 6th district. Obama has it in the bag in MN, so I think the next best way to volunteer is to help Graves throw Bachmann out of office. She’s an embarrassment to the entire state.

    • Submitted by David Greene on 09/11/2012 - 12:36 pm.

      Vote NO on Photo ID

      I believe the next best place to put your effort is in defeating the photo ID amendment. We have a long hill to climb to defeat a proposal that will fundamentally change the way we vote in Minnesota.

  3. Submitted by Lora Jones on 09/10/2012 - 06:05 pm.

    The National Prominence gambit

    Bachmann has been so adept at may be starting to cut both ways. I know that there’s a number of her constituents who accompany her name with a head shake. It’ll be interesting to see whether her admittedly devoted fans can overcome the appeal of a more moderate and less self-promoting candidate.

  4. Submitted by John Edwards on 09/10/2012 - 06:18 pm.

    The left’s poll arousal starting early

    Polls have always been a weapon of the left, particularly its numerous allies in the media (I am talking about you, disgraced Minnesota Poll.) Before the Bachmann haters get too excited, they might want to consult history. In the 2010 Congressional races, the left’s favorite pollster, Nate Silver of the far left-wing New York Times, underestimated the GOP landslide by 9 house seats (predicting a 52-seat gain instead of the actual 61). The far left-wing Huffington Post pollster, among others, had a “worst case” final projection of a 48-seat GOP pickup, a mere (by liberal standards) 27% miscalculation. And let’s not forget the always dependable Minnesota Poll right before the 2010 election: Dayton 41%; Emmer 29%; and Horner 11%. Final Results: Dayton 43.7%; Emmer 43.2%; and Horner 11.9. I am sure Graves’ self-reported poll numbers will help his fundraising and volunteer turnout, however. I am equally sure they will be dutifully disseminated by his numerous liberal supporters and Bachmann haters who report the news.

    • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 09/11/2012 - 12:05 am.

      Read the article

      It is an internal poll used by the campaign. Not intended for public polling, they usually are more accurate.

  5. Submitted by Bruce Anderson on 09/10/2012 - 08:35 pm.

    Sounds Objective

    “The internal poll, conducted by Democratic pollsters Greenberg Quinlan Rosner at the behest of Democrat Jim Graves’ campaign…”

    Let’s see what a Republican poll has to say.

  6. Submitted by mark wallek on 09/11/2012 - 10:02 am.

    A bad penny

    It’s always difficult to rid oneself of a bad penny. It likes to stick to things, cling and clutch. And that’s about all it does, so the idea that we might actually be done with one of the most worthless “representatives” ever put in office is enough to cause a mild grin. It would be larger but the circumstances just don’t get any better, really, with just the one bad penny gone.

  7. Submitted by todd swenson on 09/11/2012 - 01:43 pm.

    Its about time that voters in the 6th district are getting tired of Bachmann. She is a stain on politicians and the Republician party, not to mention the state of Minnesota has well.

  8. Submitted by Tim Milner on 09/11/2012 - 01:57 pm.

    While I have never met her

    I have had the pleasure of working with Bachman’s staff on several issues I had as a small businessman. She has a superb staff – people who really care, return calls, follow up, and get after it. Sometimes, they can’t make something happen – but never for the lack of trying. And – I don’t live in her district – I am just a businessman that needed help.

    My rep, John Kline’s office, politely refused to help say my issue was “not part of his initiate”. Sen. Klobuchar’s staff member politely listened – and never responded nor returned my follow up calls. Sen. Franken staff never responded to e-mails or voice mails.

    So while Bachmann indeed does say some crazy things at times, I have great respect for her ability to create a staff and instill in them the desire to help Minnesotans. For that reason alone, I hope she is reelected.

  9. Submitted by David Frenkel on 09/11/2012 - 02:53 pm.

    MB is a dangerous politican

    Ok, maybe Bachmann is a nice person with her constituents and her office has learned how to followup on calls but this does not qualify her to sit on the house intelligence committee and be a member of the US Congress? She often makes comments that have no basis in fact and seldom retracts her wrong comments. She has learned how to work the system to get attention and make plenty of money through books and appearances (on Fox). If Bachmann doesn’t want to spend the time being in DC to vote find somebody else who wants to represent the 6th district not the Tea Party.

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