Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney commands a double-digit lead over announced rivals for the GOP presidential nomination. However, if former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin entered the race, Romney’s lead would shrink to 8 points, a new Washington Post-ABC News poll
Among Republicans and GOP-leaning independents, Romney has the support of 30 percent; Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., had 16 percent; and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, came in at 11 percent. However, should Palin enter the race, Romney’s support drops to 26 percent, with Palin at 18 percent and Bachmann at 12 percent.
Romney also leads rivals in leadership, experience, and who can defeat President Barack Obama. The poll shows that Bachmann’s appeal is limited mostly to tea party supporters, a group that makes up just a quarter of Republicans and GOP-leaning independents in the poll. She has little traction beyond tea party supporters on such attributes as leadership, empathy, experience, issues, GOP core values, and electability, the Post reported.
The poll shows Palin to be the most empathetic figure in the race, and she runs almost even with Romney on who best reflects the party’s core values. She also has a strong following among Republicans without a college degree. Palin leads Romney in that group 23 to 22 percent. Romney, however, leads Palin 32 to 9 percent among those with degrees.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry polls at just 8 percent, regardless of whether Palin is in the race. In a full field, the rest of the candidates score in the single digits. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is at 2 percent, businessman Herman Cain, 6 percent; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, 5 percent; former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, 3 percent; and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, 2 percent.
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