Michele Bachmann second in Gallup poll

Bachmann's in second, and gaining rapidly.

Bachmann's in second, and gaining rapidly.

Michele Bachmann is in second place to Mitt Romney in a new national Gallup poll.

Bachmann trails Romney  27-18, and she's gaining on him rapidly. But the Bachmann campaign shouldn't start celebrating just yet.

In a separate piece of the poll, when Gallup introduced Texas hair model Rick Perry, Alaska werewolf hunter Sarah Palin and New York City cross-dresser Rudy Giuliani, all three finish better than Bachmann, who drops to fifth place.

In other words, if Perry, Palin and Giuliani were in the Republican field, which could be true in a matter of months, Bachmann seems more like an also-ran niche candidate than the national embarrassment juggernaut she looks like now.


Even with that caveat, the poll it's clearly been a good month for Bachmann. In the last Gallup poll in early June, before she'd officially announced her candidacy, she was at 7 percent. She more than doubled that total to get to 18 percent in this showing, while Romney looks like he's at his ceiling, holding solid at 27 percent in both polls.

Palin, Perry or Giuliani would be bad news for Michele.

Palin, Perry or Giuliani would be bad news for Michele.

It's worth noting that only the full three-headed Perry/Palin/Giuliani candidacy would sink Bachmann to the middle. If only Perry joined the race, he'd be at 18 percent, five behind Romney and five ahead of Bachmann. If only Palin or only Giuliani jumped in, Bachmann is still in second place, but barely.

Bachmann's popularity is the most vulnerable to additional candidates, as she drops seven percent -- from 18 to 11 -- if the potential spoilers started running. That's the biggest single drop-off of anyone in the race, suggesting that Bachmann's popularity is conditional: people like her, but they're willing to consider their options.

Then again, lots of those polled aren't thrilled with anyone. Even with the three additional candidates, 14 percent of those polled chose "None/Any/No opinion."

Just for record keeping, Tim Pawlenty's support is at 4 percent. He's trending the wrong way, down from 7 percent in May and 6 percent in June. At this rate Pawlenty could be in negative numbers by September.