Oh, God, it's really happening. Michele Bachmann is the leading Republican presidential candidate, according to a poll released this morning by Public Policy Polling.
Bachmann took a tiny lead -- 21 percent to 20 percent -- over Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and former shoe-in for Republican nominee. Rick Perry, who's not even officially running yet, finished third with 12 percent. Tim Pawlenty came in a dismal seventh place, with 5 percent of the vote.
The only spoilers to Michele Bachmann's candidacy now would be if Sarah Palin got into the race, or if anyone actually paid attention to the things Bachmann says and does.
PPP credits Bachmann's quick trip to the top of the charts to self-identified "right-wing" respondents, who pick her almost twice as often as they do Romney. The pollsters are impressed by Bachmann's numbers, considering she announced her candidacy on June 13.
"For the last month all the momentum in the Republican Presidential race has been on Michele Bachmann's side," said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.
In a poll that listed nine candidates, including Perry and Palin, Romney still has command, leading Bachmann 20-16. But when Palin's name is removed, Bachmann picks up those Palin supporters and leads 21-20.
In both of those polls, Pawlenty's 5 percent showings put him well behind the "Someone else/Not sure" category. In fact, Pawlenty's doing so poorly that PPP announced it would no longer include him in head-to-head state polls against Barack Obama.
Strangely, Bachmann does well at the extreme edges of ideology. Among people who described themselves as "Very liberal," 59 percent chose Bachmann in the Palin-less poll. For the "Very conservative," Bachmann was also the choice, with 26 percent.
Romney picks up most of his support among moderates. Tim Pawlenty, just to be clear, has no support from anyone.