A new report by Gallup shows that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain, former Utah Governor and Ambassador John Huntsman, and former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, have gained the most in name recognition among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents since March of this year.
Cain showed the largest gain in name recognition. He also started at the lowest level of name recognition, along with Huntsman, at 21 percent in April. Cain's name recognition is now at 48 percent, a 27 point increase. His biggest jump came in the month after the May 5 debate in South Carolina, when his numbers climbed from 25 percent to 40 percent.
Huntsman's name recognition is now at 42 percent, a 21 point increase. Although not as much of an increase as Cain's, Huntsman did not enter the race until June 21 and, unlike Cain, has not participated in either of the two debates thus far.
Pawlenty saw an 18 point rise in name recognition, 40 to 58 percent. The first candidate to enter the race, Pawlenty was once seen as the primary challenger to frontrunner Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts. That mantle has now been passed to Bachmann.
Bachmann saw a 20 point rise, from 54 to 74 percent, which now places her at a tie with Rep. Ron Paul (Texas) for the fourth highest in name recognition. She has also been coming on strong in other polls as well. Bachmann is now in second place in New Hampshire and tied for the lead, with Romney, in Iowa.
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has, by far, the highest level of name recognition. With 97 percent name recognition in April, her scores have remained constant. Palin has not announced whether she will run for the presidency.
After Palin, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and Romney have the next highest levels of name recognition, each with 86 percent. Gingrich was well-known as the leader of the Republican Revolution that led to a Republican takeover of Congress in the 1994 elections. He is also well-known for leading a failed attempt to impeach President Clinton after the Monica Lewinsky scandal.
Romney continues his frontrunner status in the most recent Gallup poll with 24 percent ballot support. He also has raised close to $20 million for his campaign, far more than any of the other candidates.
Paul's name recognition only slightly increased from 74 to 77 percent. This is Paul's third attempt at running for president. In 1988, he was the Libertarian Party's candidate. In 2008, he ran for the Republican nomination where he was successful using the Internet to raise large sums of money and gain a following among young voters, but was unable to use those strengths to win many state primaries or caucuses.
Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's name recognition have not changed since March. Forty-nine percent recognize Santorum's name, while only 20 percent recognize Johnson, the lowest of any candidate in the field.
Conservative Republicans were more likely to recognize the names of any of the candidates than moderate or liberal Republicans, underscoring the importance of conservative Republicans to winning the nomination. Conservative Republicans appear particularly important to Santorum. They are 24 percentage points more likely to recognize Santorum's name, the largest difference of any candidate.
Texas Governor Rick Perry has shown signs that he may enter the race, but Gallup did not measure his name recognition for this report.
Name recognition is an important factor to win any election. Candidates with low levels of name recognition have a decided disadvantage against candidates with high levels of name recognition.
The report was based upon Gallup's daily tracking survey, which uses telephone interviews. Each candidate was rated by at least 1,500 Republicans or Republican-leaning independents. The margin of error is +/- 3 percent.