Bachmann popular in Iowa despite poll drop

Oct. 31, 2011 at 11:55 AM
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DES MOINES, Iowa, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota still draws crowds to her events in Iowa despite her single-digit showing in the latest poll.

The candidate won the Iowa Straw Poll in August only to see her polling number drop to below 10 percentage points recently, but her campaign says the polls haven't captured the key pockets of her support, The Des Moines Register reported Sunday.

"I don't think polling ever really reflects enthusiasm and grassroots organization," Iowa campaign manager Eric Woolson said. "What we've seen is the grassroots folks that are supporting Michele Bachmann make a great foundation for victory for us on Jan. 3 [party caucuses]. I'm very comfortable with that."

Lyle DeWild of Ames was among those surveyed in the latest Iowa Poll who said Bachmann was his least favorite candidate. Poll results released on the newspaper's Web site Saturday indicated Bachmann garnered 8 percent, well behind leader Herman Cain's 23 percent.

In a follow-up interview Sunday, DeWild told the Register he thought she was the weakest conservative candidate in terms of electability.

"I don't think she's strong enough to win the election," DeWild said. "I don't think the independents will vote for her."

Peter Waldron, Bachmann's director of outreach to religious voters, said one area where her support may be under-reported is among "values voters" concerned about issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage and who usually turn out in large numbers at the caucuses. The campaign has reached out to at least 100 churches and conducted more than 40 "pastor meetings" involving 15-30 ministers, he said.

"They will carry her to victory," Waldron said. "There's no question about it."

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