06/26/2011 12:53 pm ET | Updated Aug 26, 2011

Analyzing the First Iowa Poll: Why the Poll Really Does Matter

The first Des Moines Register Poll was released on June 25 and it really does matter; this is the first substantive poll of the race. Why? The poll is not purely a name recognition poll like the previously released national ones that garnered so much media attention.

The poll breakdown is as follows: Romney 23 percent, Bachmann 22 percent, Cain 10 percent, Gingrich 7 percent, Paul 7 percent, Pawlenty 6 percent, Santorum 4 percent and Huntsman 2 percent.

Many analysts are saying how this poll marks trouble for Tim Pawlenty, since he has already spent much time in Iowa. I would agree.

But the main focus on this poll should really be the traction of Michelle Bachmann. Her team should now focus on two tangibles:

  • 1. Making sure that she does not peak too early by controlling her visits and media appearances in the state and;
  • 2. Make sure that she survives past Iowa. In other words, an Iowa win can buy incredible momentum but can also die in Iowa (see Huckabee, 2008 -- which died in New Hampshire by a McCain victory, subsequently followed by another McCain victory in South Carolina).

If Bachmann truly wants to be a contender she needs to survive outside of Iowa. Otherwise, either Romney will sweep both states or she could potentially win Iowa and then Romney, Pawlenty or Huntsman could win New Hampshire and then she would be the Huckabee of 2012.

It is all, of course, way too soon to really speculate here.

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