* Third major staffer in leave in recent weeks
* Campaign struggling after entry of Rick Perry
By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Michele Bachmann's top
pollster is leaving her presidential campaign, the latest staff
departure in recent weeks as the congresswoman struggles to
regain her footing after a drop in support in national polls.
Veteran Republican pollster Ed Goeas told Reuters Monday
he was leaving in two weeks because his role is reduced now
that Bachmann will be putting all her focus on Iowa.
"Doing a lot of polling is not what you do in Iowa. You
spend your money on voter identification," Goeas said.
Bachmann won the nonbinding Iowa straw poll in August but
her campaign has floundered since then after several gaffes and
disappointing debate performances.
The Iowa caucuses are the first national test for
Republican candidates seeking the nomination to take on
Democratic President Barack Obama as he runs for re-election in
Bachmann needs to win Iowa to revive her campaign, analysts
Craig Robinson, editor of the Iowa Republican said the
departure is a sign that the campaign is struggling and said
she will still need pollsters despite her Iowa focus.
"At the presidential level, you do need to do some [Iowa]
polling," said Robinson, who is not affiliated with a campaign.
"This looks like a campaign that is getting lean. It shows you
how far she has fallen."
Longtime Republican strategist Ed Rollins and his deputy
left Bachmann's team last month following disagreements about
Bachmann's campaign has been shaken by the entry of Texas
Governor Rick Perry into the race the day she won the Iowa
Experts say the drop in poll numbers would inevitably
affect her fundraising. Bachmann reported a disappointing $3.6
million in the second quarter, with a good chunk of that coming
from her House account.
(Additional reporting by Todd Melby)
(Reporting by Kim Dixon; Editing by Xavier Briand)
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