What the state polls are saying: Bad news for Bachmann and Palin
Since the Ames straw poll and Rick Perry’s announcement, polls have been released for 8 primary or caucus states. The states included are Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. These polls show Rick Perry and Mitt Romney taking 1st and 2nd places in 7 of the 8 states. Perry leads in Iowa, Georgia and Wisconsin (where he is tied with Bachmann); Romney leads in New Hampshire, Florida, and Michigan. Perry and Romney are tied in Colorado and North Carolina (where Sarah Palin also shares 1st place).
These polls are bad news for Michele Bachmann. She seems to have gotten virtually no bounce out of winning the Ames Straw Poll. Except for Wisconsin, there are no bright spots. She places 3rd in Iowa and 4th behind even Ron Paul in New Hampshire. She also places 4th in North Carolina, but it is doubtful she would make it that far into the primary cycle unless she were to win South Carolina, which has not yet been polled recently.
Sarah Palin fares even worse. She places 4th in Iowa and 8th in New Hampshire. Her bright spots are North Carolina, where she is tied for first and Florida where she shares 3rd place with Bachmann. She finishes behind Perry, Romney, and Bachmann in 5 of the states, not exactly a path to the nomination.
If these results hold, which is a big if, the nomination contest could turn into a protracted fight between Romney and Perry, with each one landing punches, but no one able to deliver a knockout blow. The contest could ultimately be decided at the convention, because of the proportional representation rule for states that select delegates prior to the month of April. If so, Ron Paul could be the kingmaker of the convention with 10% of the delegates.