PRINCETON, NJ -- Newly announced presidential candidate Rick Perry and Iowa Straw Poll winner Michele Bachmann generate more intensely positive reactions from Republicans who know them than does front-runner Mitt Romney. Georgia businessman Herman Cain, who finished fifth in the Iowa Straw Poll, has more intense followers than any of these three.
The race for the Republican nomination underwent a number of significant changes over the last week, with Texas Gov. Perry officially joining the race on the same Saturday that Minnesota Rep. Bachmann won the straw poll. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty then dropped out of the race on Sunday. All of the major announced candidates except Perry also participated in a nationally televised debate in Iowa on Thursday night.
Perry maintains his strong position among Republicans nationwide in Gallup's Aug. 1-14 tracking of the GOP candidates. His Positive Intensity Score of 23 is second only to Cain's (25), and slightly ahead of Bachmann's (20). Romney -- the presumptive front-runner, given his usual first-place standing in GOP nomination preference polls and his fundraising advantage over the other candidates -- has a lower Positive Intensity Score of 15, which is roughly what it has been since mid-June.
Perry's recognition among Republicans is up slightly, to 59% from 54% in the last week, but he remains substantially less well-known than Bachmann and Romney, recognized by 81% and 86% of Republicans, respectively.
Lack of Positive Intensity Dooms Pawlenty, Challenges Rest of Announced Candidates
Pawlenty leaves the race with 57% of Republicans recognizing him, up from 39% in early January, but -- indicative of his lack of progress in the race -- his name recognition has not changed much since mid-June. More importantly, Pawlenty's Positive Intensity Score for the first two weeks of August was 7, well below average, and indicating that Republicans on balance simply did not feel enthusiastic about him. Pawlenty's score was as high as 17 earlier in the year, but as the summer began, his score dropped rather than increased.
Texas Rep. Ron Paul came in second in Saturday's straw poll, but among all Republicans nationwide, his Positive Intensity Score of 11 is below average. Paul, who has previously run for president, is recognized by 78% of Republicans.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich also remain in the race as active candidates. Of the three, Gingrich is by far the best known, but all have low Positive Intensity Scores. Gingrich's 3 is the lowest of any candidate Gallup is measuring. Huntsman is at 4 and Santorum at 6.
The two Republicans with the highest name recognition -- Sarah Palin (97%) and Rudy Giuliani (91%) -- have not announced their 2012 intentions. Of the two, Giuliani is slightly better positioned, with a Positive Intensity Score of 19 compared with Palin's 15.
Many journalists and pundits have decided that Romney, Perry, and Bachmann now constitute the "top tier" of Republican presidential candidates. Of these three, Perry generates the most intensely positive response from Republicans who know him, followed closely by Bachmann and then Romney. About 4 in 10 Republicans don't recognize Perry, suggesting that the next month or two will be crucial for the newly announced candidate, as he campaigns actively and creates initial impressions among many who don't know him now.
Cain remains an anomaly of sorts in the GOP race. He gets strongly positive reactions from Republicans who know him, but his recognition has remained below 50%. He managed only a fifth-place finish in the Iowa Straw Poll and was supported by 3% of Republicans in Gallup's latest trial heat poll.
For the moment, two of the more important findings from Gallup's tracking data are Romney's challenge of creating more enthusiasm among Republicans who know him, and Perry's challenge of maintaining his positive positioning as he becomes better known. If Palin or Giuliani enters the race, it would clearly shake things up once again.
Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Aug. 1-14, 2011, with random samples of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Questions asking about the 10 potential candidates measured in this research were rotated among randomly selected samples of Republicans each night; over the 14-day period, each candidate was rated by a minimum of 1,500 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.
For the overall ratings of each potential candidate among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, including recognition scores, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. For the Positive Intensity Score for each candidate, the maximum margin of sampling error varies depending on the size of the group recognizing the candidate.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.