Candidates will fall by the wayside as the primary battle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination gets under way. If the race were already down to just the three top candidates, Mitt Romney would still be just slightly ahead.
In a three-way race between Romney, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Texas Governor Rick Perry, Romney earns 34% of the vote, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely Republican Primary Voters. Bachmann picks up 27% support, while Perry, the only one who has yet to formally declare he’s a candidate, gets 26%. Five percent (5%) like some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
The race is a virtual tie, however, if it’s a two-way race. In a showdown between just Romney and Bachmann, 44% of primary voters support Romney, while 42% favor Bachmann. The remaining 14% either like another candidate or are undecided.
Pit Romney against Perry alone, and the former Massachusetts governor earns 43% while the Texas governor gets 39%. Nine percent (9%) prefer another candidate, while another nine percent (9%) are undecided.
A matchup between Bachmann and Perry finds the two candidates deadlocked with 39% support each. Twelve percent (12%) support another candidate, and nine percent (9%) are undecided.
Tea Party voters strongly prefer Bachmann and Perry over Romney in all these matchups. They break almost evenly between the congresswoman and the Texas governor in that hypothetical contest. Romney is the clear favorite of non-Tea Party members. Perry edges Bachmann among non-members when they’re pitted against each other.
The inclusion of Perry tightens the overall GOP race dramatically, with Romney still ahead but just barely when primary voters are asked to choose among the eight top hopefuls for the party’s nomination.
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The survey of 1,000 Likely GOP Primary Voters was conducted on July 28, 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. See methodology.
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