At this moment, likely Republican voters are passing over the cool guy candidate, ignoring the placebo and merely tolerating the vanilla frontrunner. But Tea Party darling Michele Bachmann seems to be attracting some actual affection. Bachmann has had positive soundings in three polls released in the last 24 hours: this week's Gallup national name-recognition survey, the Des Moines Register Iowa caucus heat-check and Suffolk University's New Hampshire poll.
In Iowa, the Register found that Bachmann is breathing down the neck of frontrunner Mitt Romney, only down one percentage point (23 percent to 22 percent support) at this juncture. In the Suffolk University poll of New Hampshire primary voters, her standing rose 8 points in a month to 11 percent--which is still far behind Romney's 36 percent support. But, as The Hill notes, "the two polls [Iowa and NH] combined could afford Bachmann an opportunity to emerge as the primary anti-Romney voice in the race."
One factor nudging along the populist, "anti-Romney" label is Bachmann's already high Gallup Positive Intensity Score (basically, it's an empirical way to track the most intense fans of a candidate). The polling outfit notes that she ties for the highest score of any candidate with pizza magnate Herman Cain, and she has higher name recognition than Cain. Her ability "to maintain her relatively high Positive Intensity Score as she has become better known distinguishes her from several of her competitors," Gallup concluded on Tuesday.