Poll: Romney fared best in first GOP debate

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney had the best performance in Monday's GOP presidential primary debate, a new poll found Friday.

Magellan Strategies, a GOP-leaning polling firm, found that 39 percent of Republicans thought Romney fared the best in the debate, the first in which he has participated in this cycle.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), who announced her presidential bid during the event, was next, with 28 percent. The remaining candidates failed to get more than 10 percent in the poll, the first since the debate took place.

The poll also had more good news for Romney — 42 percent of Republicans say if the presidential primary were held today, they would vote for him.

Among the rest of the GOP field, 10 percent would vote for either Bachmann or Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).

The remaining contenders — former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (who has yet to announce a run), former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (who has hinted at possibly jumping into the 2012 race), former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and former China Ambassador Jon Huntsman — all got less than 10 percent.

Romney is also the leader in terms of general favorability. Sixty-nine percent of Republicans view him favorably. On the flipside, Gingrich has the highest unfavorables of any of the candidates. The poll found that 62 percent view Gingrich unfavorably, while only 29 percent have a favorable opinion of the former Speaker.

Additionally, the poll found that Huntsman, who did not participate in Monday's debate, has higher unfavorable numbers than favorables. Just 14 percent of Republicans hold a favorable view of him, while 36 percent view him unfavorably and 35 percent have no opinion. That's despite his high name recognition. Eighty-five percent of Republicans polled had heard of Huntsman, while only 15 percent say they had never heard of him.

Huntsman has announced that he will formally jump into the presidential race next week. Some have said that Huntsman could draw away supporters from Romney for his moderate stance on certain issues like civil unions — which, in the past, he has said he strongly supports.