Respondents were asked to name the candidates in the Republican field. Twenty-eight percent identified Rick Perry, 27 percent named Mitt Romney and 15 percent identified Michele Bachmann. No other candidate broke double-digits.
The numbers are significantly lower than October 2007. Then, 45 percent of respondents named New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani as a candidate, 30 percent identified Romney, and 27 percent tabbed Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson.
Of course, the numbers don't spell doom for the Republican candidates. All three of the most recognizable figures fell to the eventual nominee, John McCain, and even then more than 40 percent of Americans couldn't name a Republican candidate. At the same time, the schedule shuffling at the beginning of the GOP primary process means that candidates have less time to connect with voters before the voting begins.
The GOP contenders do enjoy higher name recognition within their own party. Only a third of Republicans couldn't name any candidate, and both Perry and Romney led with a name recognition of 36 percent.