Both Texas Governor Rick Perry and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani have indicated an interest in running for president. Both would enter the race with high positive intensity scores, according to a new poll by Gallup.
In the poll, respondents were first asked if they recognized the name of the candidate. If they said “yes,” they were asked whether their opinion of the candidate is “strongly favorable,” “favorable,” “unfavorable,” or “strongly unfavorable.” The positive intensity score is calculated by subtracting the unrounded percentage of those who answered “strongly unfavorable” from the percentage of those answering “strongly favorable.”
Giuliani's positive intensity score is 20. Perry's positive intensity score is 21. The two highest positive intensity scores among known candidates are Rep. Michele Bachmann's (R-Minn.) 21 and former Federal Reserve Chair Herman Cain's 25.
A high positive intensity score would indicate that the candidate would likely have an opportunity to mobilize a large number of supporters and would have fewer voters working against their candidacy. High positive intensity scores indicate that the candidate would likely do well in caucus states, such as Iowa, where candidates need a large number of enthusiastic supporters to win votes.
Since positive intensity scores are only measured among those who know the candidate, however, they should only be considered in conjunction with name recognition. A high positive intensity score with a low name recognition is not a recipe for a winning campaign. Candidates need both.
Giuliani, if he decided to run, would enter the race with high name recognition at 86 percent, tied with Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Only Sarah Palin, who also has not decided whether to run for the presidency, has higher name recognition at 95 percent.
Perry, on the other hand, would begin a potential presidential run with 55 percent name recognition; not as high as Giuliani's, but a respectable position for someone who has not declared his intention to run for the presidency. Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum have been campaigning for months and their name recognition is at 55 and 49 percent, respectively.
Gallup's poll used telephone interviews between July 4-17, 2011. Each candidate's, or potential candidate's, score was based upon a sample of at least 1,500 respondents. The sampling error is +/- 3 percent.