Rasmussen: Romney 33%, Bachmann 19%

After Monday’s debate, the consensus choices for big winners were Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann.  Rasmussen polled 1,000 likely GOP voters the next day and confirmed the observation.  Romney leads in their latest survey, but Bachmann gets the eye-popping numbers:

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney continues to lead the race for the Republican nomination, but Michele Bachmann has surged into second place following her Monday night entry into the campaign.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely GOP Primary Voters, taken following the candidates’ Monday night debate, shows Romney earning 33% support, with Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann a surprise second at 19%. Georgia businessman Herman Cain is in third place with 10% of the vote.

The last survey in April showed Donald Trump with a slight lead over Romney, 19/17, with Huckabee close behind at 15%.  The withdrawal of Trump and Huckabee has mainly helped Romney, although it’s possible that this is more a result of the debate than of a narrowing of the field.  At that time, Rasmussen polled the race without any of the front-runners and found that Bachmann had the strongest support in the second tier.  This survey shows Bachmann leveraging that to gain entry to the top tier.

Rasamussen’s survey has a couple of counter-intuitive results as well.  Despite Bachmann’s standing as a Tea Party favorite and the perception of Tea Party opposition to Romney, the two are tied among those who identify as Tea Party members, at 26% each.  But the more interesting result comes in the crosstabs, where Bachmann actually leads the field among independent voters, 23/21 over Romney, with 17% backing Herman Cain, despite being seen by far as the most conservative candidate in the field.  Fifty-five percent rate her as “very conservative,” and the closest to that is Ron Paul at 39%, who gets 8% of independents and 7% overall.  Tim Pawlenty is the only other candidate to get double-digit support from independents at 10%.  Bachmann also leads in the “other” ethnic category (presumably Hispanics and Asians) 29/28 over Romney, and comes in second among black likely primary voters to Romney, 30/24, both of whom beat Cain’s 22%.

The media has Bachmann pegged as an ultra-Republican conservative.  This result may force the media to look a little closer at Bachmann’s base of support, and her reach outside of the Republican Party.  When they do, expect the scrutiny to put more pressure on Bachmann, who hasn’t had a lot of attention due to the perception of being a second-tier candidate.  The Bachmann team should be prepared for an onslaught, but they’re in surprisingly good position at the moment.

One last point: “some other candidate” got only 8%, far below other polling on the field.  Did the debate show, as Cain suggested, that the GOP has a strong field already?