[INEVITABLE DISCLAIMER: National polls don't matter.]
Gallup's new national poll gives us some surprising consistency in the GOP presidential race. For the third consecutive month, Romney leads. For the second month, his support approaches 30 percent. And as she has in every poll, Michele Bachmann has surged -- from 7 percent in June to 18 percent now. She only suffers if Rick Perry joins the race, as he's now expected to do. And Tim Pawlenty is still losing steam national as he spends most of his pre-Ames Straw Poll time in Iowa.
Mitt Romney - 27% (+0)
Michele Bachmann - 18% (+11)
Ron Paul - 11% (+3)
Newt Gingrich - 7% (-2)
Herman Cain - 5% (-5)
Tim Pawlenty - 4% (-2)
Rick Santorum - 3% (-3)
Jon Huntsman - 2% (+0)
Other - 2% (-3)
That's 29% of the vote for members of the House, 36% for current or former members of the House, and let's say 40% for candidates -- Bachmann, Paul, Cain, Pawlenty, Santorum -- who are trying to run to Romney's right. And they're about to be joined by yet another vote/Tea Party support/donation base splitter in the form of Perry. Romney only loses 4 points if Perry enters the race, and only 4 if Palin enters. We don't know how much he loses if both enter, but Rudy Giuliani doesn't. Gallup promotes a hypothetical question that asked who voters will go for if all three enter, but only Giuliani would present a challenge to Romney on the left, on a couple of issues.
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