Presidential races

Presidential races

Poll: Perry would start as serious contender

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) would start out as a serious contender should he jump into the 2012 presidential race, a new poll found.

According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey, if Perry decided to jump into the presidential race, he would be the top choice of 11 percent of Republican voters, behind only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and ahead of other candidates already in the race, including Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R).

Thirty percent of voters said Romney would be their first choice if they had to vote in the GOP presidential primary today. Sixteen percent selected Bachmann.

Perry has said he's considering jumping into the presidential race, encouraging longstanding speculation that he would make a run. On Monday, he said he was going through a "steady process of making a decision" about jumping in.

If he does decide to get into the race, he's indicated that he's only interested in being president and won't settle for vice president.

“You kinda [ask the question]: Vice president [or] governor of Texas — that kinda answers itself,” Perry said Tuesday, laughing in response to a question about whether he would accept the No. 2 spot on the ticket.

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Poll: Romney leads Obama in Michigan

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads President Obama in Michigan, according to a new poll.

Romney, whose father was governor of the Wolverine State, leads Obama in a head-to-head matchup by 46 percent to 42 percent, within the survey's four-point margin of error.

Michigan is likely a must-win for Obama. He took 57 percent of the vote there in the 2008 presidential race after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) gave up on the state and pulled out resources a month before the election. But a brutal local economy has hurt Obama with Independents: in the poll, he trails Romney 42 percent to 31 percent with that key group.

Another worrying trend for the president: Detroit, the anchor of any Democratic coalition in the state, has continued to hemorrhage people, losing a quarter of its population since 2000. The state's African-American population has also dropped significantly.

The poll of 600 likely voters was conducted from July 9 to July 11 by the Lansing-based EPIC/MRA.

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Gallup pollster: GOP field wide open, Obama's numbers cemented

The Republican primary field is wide open and President Obama's job-approval numbers have cemented slightly below 50 percent, and are unlikely to move barring a major event, according to Gallup Poll Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport.

Obama "has a strong coalition of certain types of voters ... he's in the mid-forties and that just doesn't move that much," said Newport at a Tuesday breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor. "I don't necessarily anticipate that the [electoral] coalitions that have developed are going to shift."

The pollster predicted that unless a major event shifted the public's focus on jobs and the economy, Obama's poll numbers were unlikely to shift much, and that the electoral coalitions the president and Republicans have relied upon would remain intact. Newport speculated that at that point, the presidential election would come down more to turning out the party base than wooing independents.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney remains the front-runner for the Republican nomination. With the exception of the 2008 presidential campaign, the early front-runner for the GOP almost always becomes the nominee, according to Gallup's polling. But Newport said that Romney was far from guaranteed to win.

"We have a less dominant front-runner now than we've ever had at any point in the Republican field," he said

Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) rise has been reflected in Gallup's polling: she succeeded in raising her name identification among likely Republican primary voters from around 50 percent up to more than three-quarters of voters, rivaling that of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and approaching the numbers held by Republicans like Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Gallup has developed a new polling technique this year to separate out how much voters like candidates from how many know who those candidates are. Based on these numbers, Bachmann and Texas Gov. Rick Perry have very high positive name recognition, as does businessman Herman Cain. But Cain has failed to broaden his audience in the same way Bachmann has.

Perry, who is considering a run, has lower name recognition but is very well-liked by those who do know him. According to Newport, Perry's backers are much more strongly behind him than Romney's are.

On the other hand, Newport said that former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman have "laid a total egg" in trying to reach out to primary voters. Neither has managed to raise his name recognition much, and those who know the candidates aren't enthusiastic about them, according to Newport.

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Liberal group drops off petition warning Obama on cuts

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group that has long been critical of President Obama's policy moves, delivered a petition to his campaign with 200,000 signatures warning Obama against any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security as part of a broader agreement on raising the debt ceiling.

The petition said that if he allows any cuts to happen, the signatories will refuse to campaign for or donate to Obama in his upcoming reelection campaign. The president rode a wave of grassroots liberal support from groups including MoveOn.Org to beat then-Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) in the primary and win the general election.

Adam Green, the head of PCCC, is MoveOn.Org's former communications director. His group has criticized many Democrats they believe have not upheld liberal principles.

"The Democratic Party should support the overwhelming will of Americans who say clearly that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid cuts must be completely off the table," said PCCC co-founder Stephanie Taylor. "The middle class has sacrificed enough, and it's time to pass popular taxes on the rich and big corporations."

Much of the group's focus has been criticizing Obama on everything from the lack of a public option in his healthcare reform law to his compromise on extending the Bush tax cuts for one year.

Obama's polling numbers among liberals are still high, although down from the atmospheric levels of the 2008 campaign. But an angry base could hurt the president's reelection chances.

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Bachmann raises $2 million in two weeks to start campaign

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) raised more than $2 million in the two and a half weeks since she announced her candidacy and has $4 million cash on hand after a $2 million transfer from her House account, according to CBS News.

Bachmann's fundraising prowess is only the latest good sign for the Minnesotan. Polls show her leading the pack in early-voting Iowa, where she grew up, and she has also gained in New Hampshire, the second state to cast its ballots.

The congresswoman has strong appeal to the social conservatives and evangelicals who are influential in Iowa's caucuses, and has close ties to the Tea Party.

Bachmann's totals surpass most other candidates'. But former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney reported last week that he had raised more than $18 million for the race and has $12.6 million cash on hand.

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Pawlenty reports $1.4 million in bank for primary

Former Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty has just $1.4 million in the bank to use in the presidential primary after raising $4.5 million in the last three months, the latest troubling news for a candidate who has so far failed to attract much support in early polls. The Wall Street Journal first reported the fundraising totals. Pawlenty's campaign has $2 million in the bank, but $600,000 of that can only be used in the general election.

The candidate needs a strong performance in Iowa's caucuses — he has spent more time than nearly any other candidate in the Hawkeye State in the past year, which borders his home state. But his local appeal has been complicated by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)'s entrance into the race. Bachmann took 21 percent of the Iowa Republican vote in a recent poll conducted by the American Research Group, while Pawlenty took just 2 percent.

Former Massachusetts Republican Gov. Mitt Romney reported last week that he had raised more than $18 million for the race and has $12.6 million cash on hand. Pawlenty's haul about the same size as that of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), slightly larger than candidates like businessman Herman Cain, who brought in $2.5 million in the quarter.

He will need to change slipping expectations fast in order to ramp up his fundraising in the next quarter and stay competitive through next winter's Iowa caucus. Pawlenty is investing big, both with money and time, in the state ahead of the presidential debate and Ames straw poll that will take place in early August.

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Pawlenty makes big ad buy ahead of Ames, Iowa straw poll & debate

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R)'s campaign has bought more than $200,000 in television and radio advertising time in the Des Moines-Ames media market. This is a major purchase for the campaign leading up to what could be its defining weekend: A presidential debate in Ames on August 11th and the Ames straw poll on August 14th.

Pawlenty badly needs a strong showing in the Iowa caucuses to be seen as a first-tier candidate: He has spent more time in the Hawkeye State over the past year than any other candidate besides former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.), totalling 31 days in the state, but has barely registered in the polls. According to his campaign, he will spend most of the next month there as well.

After a rough month where many pundits have written him off, Pawlenty needs to hold his own in the Ames debate and straw poll, an event where party loyalists come from around the state to vote for their early preferences for president. The straw poll is seen as an early test of organizational strength in the state by party insiders and members of the media.

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