Obviously this is just two states but these numbers speak to the possibility for a two way race between Romney and Bachmann if Palin stays out of the field. They’re 11 points clear of anyone else in Montana and 18 points ahead of anyone else in Oregon. Herman Cain’s momentum appears to have stalled after a tremendous May and early June, Pawlenty and Huntsman still haven’t gotten off the ground, Gingrich doesn’t appear likely ever to return to his former level of support, and Paul, well, he’s probably stuck around 10% in perpetuity.
Oregon provides a good example of why Romney should probably want Palin to run, in order to split up the vote of the far right. With Palin included there he gets 28% to 18% for Bachmann, 16% for Palin, 9% for Paul, 8% for Cain, 6% for Gingrich and Pawlenty, and 0% for Huntsman. Without Palin included Bachmann picks up 11 points with Romney staying right in place. There’s an argument that Palin’s entry is the best possible thing that could happen to Romney’s prospects over the next few months.
In Montana Palin actually leads when she’s included with 20% t0 18% for Bachmann, 17% for Romney, 9% for Gingrich and Paul, 8% for Cain, 7% for Pawlenty, and 4% for Huntsman. In both Montana and Oregon Palin has easily the best net favorability of any of the GOP contenders…she’ll be a force if she runs…it’s just a very big if.