A pizza magnate and Tea Party darling have the most intensely devoted fans. Tim Pawlenty's Transformer ads haven't helped Republicans remember his name. And conservatives still know Newt, Mitt and Sarah the very best. Those are a few takeaway's from Gallup Polling's latest heat check on the falling-into-place GOP primary field that's still without a "clear frontrunner."
In the early campaign, there are only five contenders who a majority of Republicans can single out by name: Romney, Palin, Gingrich, Paul and Bachmann. Unsurprisingly, those first three names also topped voters choices with 20, 18, and 11 percent support respectively. Notably omitted from the top tier: Mitch Daniels, the governor of Indiana building buzz as the new "serious" candidate and Tim Pawlenty, the ex-Minnesota governor compensating for being dubbed a "placebo" by going Michael Bay in an ad blitz.
Gallup has also been measuring Positive Intensity Scores, a metric defined by controlling for name recognition and subtracting unfavorable opinion from favorable opinion. Basically, it tracks the most intense fans of each candidate. By this metric, Herman Cain (the Pizza guy) and Michele Bachmann (Tea Party darling) lead all GOPer's, including Ron Paul, who you might think would be a shoe-in to lead in the ranking.
Even though no one seems to think Sarah Palin is actually going to run, Gallup concludes that we still "must" consider her "one of the GOP leaders at this point" because of her astronomical (96 percent) name recognition among GOP faithful and highest Postive Intensity Score (i.e. most fans) of any of the well-known candidates. Well, fine.