(NEW YORK) -- While Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul have their share of vocal supporters, a new ABC News/Washington Post poll highlights both hopefuls have a long road ahead among core Republican groups likely to be crucial in the party’s presidential contest.
All told, Americans polled are divided 27 percent to 31 percent in overall favorable vs. unfavorable impressions of Minnesota Rep. Bachmann, and by a similar 25 percent to 27 percent on Paul -- far from strongly positive ratings, although marked by the large numbers who’ve yet to form an impression of either candidate.
Among Republicans and very conservative adults, Paul has the greater challenges. While Republicans polled are split 55 percent to 16 percent in favorable/unfavorable views of Bachmann, it’s a much closer 39-27 split for Paul.
The gap between Bachmann and Paul also is wide among self-described “very conservative” Republicans: they're reportedly split 66 percent to 13 percent favorable/unfavorable on Bachmann, but 47 percent to 29 percent on Paul.
Paul, a Congressman associated with the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, makes back some of that ground in nontraditional areas for a Republican, with, for example, positive ratings at 22 percent among liberals vs. Bachman’s 14 percent. But with liberals a small sliver of the Republican Party, Bachmann’s advantage among core Republican constituencies is more of an advantage in the primary season.
Congresswoman Bachmann, though, has a weakness of her own, according to the poll: a notably unfavorable rating among college-educated adults, who are more reliable voters. Unfavorable views of Bachmann jump to 45 percent among college graduates vs. 25 percent among non-graduates. Paul, by contrast, scores proportionately about the same among graduates and non-graduates alike.
Paul and Bachmann have trailed Republican candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in most recent surveys; ABC/Post results last week compared Perry and Romney’s favorability ratings (23-31 percent for Perry, with, notably, more unfavorable than favorable; and 33-31 percent for Romney) as well as Barack Obama’s (47-46 percent).
An obvious difference is in how well Reps. Paul and Bachmann are known on the national stage. For all his time on the campaign trail, 49 percent of Americans have yet to form an opinion of Paul, and nearly as many -- 43 percent -- reportedly had no impression of Bachmann.
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