Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, who announced her candidacy for president two weeks ago, is surging in New Hampshire: She now trails by just single digits longtime front-runner Mitt Romney, who owns a home in the Granite State, a new Public Policy Polling (D) survey shows.
This is the second poll this week that puts Bachmann in second place behind Romney. A WMUR Granite State poll released Tuesday showed Romney leading Bachmann by 23 points. But the PPP (D) survey found a much narrower margin. The former Massachusetts governor, who is invested heavily in winning his neighboring state, topped Bachmann by 25 percent to 18 percent among New Hampshire Republican primary voters. 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin came in third with 11 percent. Texas Rep. Ron Paul received 9 percent, while businessman Herman Cain and Texas Gov. Rick Perry tied with 7 percent support. Former Govs. Jon Huntsman of Utah and Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota each received 7 percent; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich garnered 4 percent.
Both Romney and Huntsman visited New Hampshire over the Fourth of July weekend and crossed paths at an Independence Day parade there. Bachmann visited last week after formally announcing her candidacy in Iowa.
But the field in New Hampshire, which is scheduled to host its primary in February, isn't necessarily set. Observers are watching Palin to see whether she will make a bid for the White House. Without her in the race, Romney and Bachmann each gain three points in New Hampshire while Cain and Perry gain two points, according to PPP (D).
While Palin remains coy about her plans, others, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, have ruled out runs. If they were to join the race, the poll found that Romney would still lead by six points, though Christie would knock Bachmann out of second place with 20 percent support; Bachmann would be left with 9 percent.
Romney also edges out his Republican challengers in head-to-head matchups by at least 12 points. But he will likely have trouble courting members of the tea party, who make up 33 percent of the New Hampshire GOP and support Bachmann over Romney, 53 percent to 39 percent. Bachmann also has a slightly higher favorability rating compared to Romney, 64 percent to 60 percent. Giuliani is also popular in the state, with 62 percent of Republicans viewing him favorably.
PPP (D) surveyed 341 New Hampshire Republican primary voters from June 30 to July 5. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.3 percent.