The rapid rise and sharp fall of their bids for the Republican presidential nomination may have hurt the political futures of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, new polls show.
A poll released Tuesday by the Democratic firm Pubic Policy Polling (PPP) finds that Bachmann's approval rating in Minnesota has sunk to 34 percent, with the majority of voters viewing her negatively. This is down from a 68/23 favorably split last June, leading up to her run for the presidency.
A separate poll, released Thursday, shows Perry with 42 percent favorability in Texas, compared to 65 percent before his White House bid. Among Republicans alone, Perry's approval has dropped 11 points in the last four months.
Both candidates ran turbulent campaigns, and struggled with controversial statements that damaged their images.
Bachmann dropped out of the Republican presidential primary race shortly after coming in sixth place in the Iowa caucus, which she had made a focus of her campaign. She has not announced her next move, but Bachmann suspended her congressional campaign while running for president, following the state law forbidding a candidate from running for two different federal offices, and many experts predict she won't seek another term.
If she does decide to run, there will be some hurdles to overcome. Only 37 percent of voters in Minnesota think she should run again, and 57 percent think she should retire from Congress, according to PPP.
Redistricting in the state complicates the issue further. Minnesota has not finalized its new congressional election maps, but a proposed version carves up Bachmann's 4th District and would pit her against Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum. Moreover, Bachmann's cash-strapped presidential campaign has left her low on funds.
Perry's term as governor doesn't end until January 2015, but some say he's lost some of his clout in Texas. Perry dropped out of the presidential race Jan. 19, after a bumpy and often embarrassing run. In his speech announcing the end of his presidential campaign, Perry promised to return to Texas "neither discouraged nor disenchanted," but voters in the Lone Star state may not share his optimism. HuffPost's Jason Cherkins reported earlier this month:
Put simply, it's tough for Perry to go home again. A recent poll had him losing in the state to Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Today, the hashtag #welcomehomegoaway became a popular trending topic on Twitter in Austin. His onetime Tea Party rival Debra Medina endorsed the sentiment, tweeting, "Gov. Perry, welcome home. Now, please retire."
After a decade of Perry's vanquishing foes with relative ease, there's a sense among Austin politicos that the presidential run exposed him as unsure, easily distracted and out of his depth. Democrats now have a treasure trove of debate foibles to use in future campaign commercials. Now Republicans don't fear his once intimidating inner circle.
Another logical course of action for Bachmann would be to run for U.S. Senate, but this too could be tough. In a PPP hypothetical matchup between Bachmann and incumbent Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bachmann is behind 14 percentage points.