June 13, 2011- On the eve of a New Hampshire debate among GOP candidates, a just released Gallup poll of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, puts Mitt Romney ahead of the pack.
Romney leads with 24% of supports in a poll that includes yet-to-announce former Governor Sarah Palin, who gets 16%. This bump is a +7% increase from a Gallup poll conducted in May 20-24, where he garnered 17%, where he also placed first. Among those in tonights debate:
Former Gov. Mitt Romney 24%
Businessman Herman Cain 9%
Rep. Ron Paul 7%
Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty 6%
Former Sen. Rick Santorum 6%
Rep. Michele Bachmann 5%
Former Rep. Newt Gingrich 5%
Following the mass resignation of several staff members to his campaign has seemed to hurt Gingrich, who suffered the biggest drop from the May poll; his support then was around 9%. Rick Santorum gained the second biggest bump after Romney, his support went from 2% to 6%.
As noted, this Gallup includes Sarah Palin, who has yet to announce. Palin, on a "One Nation" bus tours, is widely speculated to run, however according to an msnbc article, "National and statewide polls have continually indicated that Palin’s base is passionate but probably too small to mount a viable challenge against the incumbent president."
The June 8-11 poll was also conducted with Palin removed from the list of potential nominees. Once Palins votes are distributed among the other nominees, Gingrich appears to be the one to gain the most from her absence: his support increases by 4 percentage points, from 5 to 9%. Romney gain 3% (24 to 27), Paul +2 (7 to 9), Bachmann +2 (5 to 7) Cain +1 (9 to 10). Pawlenty and Santorum received no gain.
Somewhat notably is the fact that Gather-favorite and talk-show host Herman Cain shows up with 9-10% of support. Second to Romney if Palin is not included, that 10% support is actually more perplexing than a first look might indicate; it's enought to put him ahead of most of the rank-and-file candidates but not strong enough to, as of yet, challenge Romney or a likely Palin candidacy. Of course, his supporters will mention that Cain has received nowhere near the same exposure as most of the candidates on this list (possibly less exposure than any of the other candidates) and yet has shown a strong number in early polling.
Take me to the Other Side
This is the first election since 1996 with a Democratic incumbent. So while President Obama won't have to contend with candidates in his own party (ala 2004), he might have a tough re-election campaign coming up; his approval stands at only 47.8 according to RealClear Politics. Still, he might have some solace, at least for a while, watching the mud-slinging as the Republican candidates fight it out.