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Bachmann and Perry Are Serious Challengers to Obama, Poll Finds

Bachmann and Perry Are Serious Challengers to Obama, Poll Finds

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Even with a rash of antigay rhetoric from Republicans on the campaign trial, they are still serious competitors against President Obama, a new poll finds.

That includes staunchly antigay candidates Rep. Michele Bachmann and Texas governor Rick Perry. Gallup found that Bachmann polls just four points behind the president among registered voters, at 48% to 44%. And Perry actually ties Obama among registered voters.

Obama's biggest threat is Mitt Romney, who beats the president 48% to 46% among registered voters. Romney joined Bachmann in signing a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage that committed him to banning gay marriage with an amendment to the U.S. Constitution and to forming a special commission to "investigate" the opposition to NOM and other antigay groups.

While rhetoric during a primary is intended to rile the Republican base, the field of candidates is actually beating the president among independents, an obviously pivotal group. Among independents, Romney wins by three points, Perry wins by two points, and even Rep. Ron Paul wins by three points. Only when pitted against Bachmann does Obama succeed, 48% to 42%.

Republicans had seemed to look around the room for other candidates, with Indiana governor Mitch Daniels being openly supportive during an interview on Meet the Press this weekend of Rep. Paul Ryan making a try. But the Wisconsin representative and budget wonk Monday became the latest to say he's absolutely not running.

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