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June 26th, 2011

Bachmann’s Great Expectations

By Craig Robinson

Michele Bachmann couldn’t have scripted the past two weeks any better.  Two weeks ago on Monday, she appeared in her first presidential debate.  In doing so, she announced her intention to seek the Republican nomination for president.  Even better, she delivered a solid performance, which got the media talking.

Now Bachmann is set to formally announce her campaign in Iowa on Monday, and hours before she steps foot in the state for the first time in over a month, she is greeted with outstanding polling numbers by the Des Moines Register that show her in a statistical dead-heat with Mitt Romney.

Life is good if you are Michele Bachmann or one of her supporters, but be careful what you wish for.  Bachmann is now the clear frontrunner in Iowa and has to manage the expectations that come along with that status.  With this one poll, Bachmann went from being an interesting candidate with a lot of potential to being a frontrunner who now has to live up to the hype.

For most of 2011, Tim Pawlenty was considered the frontrunner in Iowa.  Much of that was thanks to his healthy Iowa itinerary, his massive number Iowa staff and consultants, and his campaign’s early mail, TV, and radio advertisements.  The poll showed Pawlenty stuck in low single digits, where he has always been.  Meanwhile, Bachmann is riding high.

Her new expectations mean that she needs to win the Ames Straw Poll, not just do well.  A more immediate concern is her announcement in Iowa, which begins tomorrow.  As the Iowa frontrunner, big enthusiastic crowds are expected.  In other words, there is no longer any room for error with her campaign.

It might be wise for Bachmann and her staff not to get too confident too quickly.  Unlike the other candidates in the race, Bachmann has yet to travel to many parts of the state.  While she leads in the poll, she doesn’t have much of a campaign apparatus in place, and the Ames Straw Poll is only seven weeks away.

It’s also important to note that the poll was conducted in the three days following the CNN New Hampshire debate.  These early polls are often times popularity contests, and nobody was being talked about more during the span of this poll than Bachmann.  Herman Cain saw a similar spike in various polls after the South Carolina debate, and his numbers have diminished in recent weeks.  Bachmann needs to transform her popularity into hard and fast support if she’s going to grow her numbers before the Ames Straw Poll and Caucus.

Bachmann is the big winner in the Iowa Poll, but she now has a more difficult campaign to wage in Iowa.

Photo by Dave Davidson

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About the Author

Craig Robinson
Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country. Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses. A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states. Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site, Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing. Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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