Gallup: Paul, Bachmann, Perry, Romney All Within Margin of Error in Match With Obama

By Terence P. Jeffrey | August 22, 2011 | 2:44 PM EDT

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) speaks during the Iowa Republican Party's straw poll, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, in Ames, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

( - If the presidential election were held today and either Rep. Ron Paul, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Gov. Rick Perry or former Gov. Mitt Romney was the Republican nominee, Gallup would have the race too close to call because support for each of these Republican candidates is now within the margin of error of the support for President Obama in a poll measuring head-to-head match-ups.

From Aug-17-18, Gallup asked 879 registered voters: “Suppose the presidential election were held today. If Barack Obama were the Democratic Party’s candidate and __________ were the Republican Party’s candidate who would you vote for?” In the blank space shown here, Gallup rotated through the names of Paul, Bachmann, Perry and Romney.

The poll had a margin of error of +/-4 points.

Romney did best. He led Obama, 48 percent to 46 percent.

Perry did second best. He tied Obama, 47 percent to 47 percent.

Ron Paul did third best. He lagged Obama, 45 percent to 47 percent.

Michele Bachmann did fourth best. She lagged Obama, 44 percent to 48 percent.

But the margin between each of these candidates and Obama was within the poll’s 4-point margin of error.

Additionally, three of the four Republican candidates, according to the poll, were leading Obama among self-identified independent voters. Romney led Obama among independents, 47 percent to 44 percent. Perry led Obama among independents, 46 percent to 44 percent. Paul led Obama among independents, 46 percent to 43 percent.

Bachmann trailed Obama among independents, 42 percent to 48 percent.

“In August 1979,” Gallup noted in its analysis of the poll, “incumbent President Jimmy Carter was tied with former California Gov. Reagan--each getting 45% of the vote. Reagan ultimately defeated Carter by 10 points.”