Just two weeks after announcing her White House bid, Michele Bachmann is neck and neck with the early favorite for the Republican nomination, Mitt Romney, according to the first Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of the 2012 Republican presidential field.
Romney, who spent about $10 million in Iowa in his 2008 campaign only to come in second, received support from 23 percent of likely Republican caucus-goers, the newspaper reported late Saturday. Bachmann, who will officially launch her campaign in Iowa on Monday, is statistically tied at 22 percent. Herman Cain came in third place with 10 percent.
Bachmann's surge to the top forebodes trouble for Pawlenty, who is lagging at 6 percent despite a steady focus on Iowa for months and a recent spurt of television advertising. In contrast, Romney is viewing New Hampshire, which holds the next contest, as his launching pad. Bachmann winning the Iowa caucus would help Romney by dealing a blow to Pawlenty.
The other candidates registered in single digits, with Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul at 7 percent, Rick Santorum at 4 percent, and Jon Huntsman at 2 percent.
The Selzer & Co. Inc. survey of 400 likely Republican caucus-goers was conducted June 19 to 22. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.