Michele Bachmann's ascent continues: The Minnesota congresswoman surged into second place behind longtime GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney in a new national poll. Romney is the first choice for 30% of Republican primary voters, while Bachmann snagged 16%. Behind her is Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who still hasn't decided whether to actually run, with 11%. President Obama still leads his Republican challengers: 48% of those polled would vote for him today versus 41% for Romney. Against Bachmann, Obama would win 50% to 35%.
However, pessimism over the economy and the job market has led to Obama's lowest job approval rating since December, 47%, and two-thirds of those polled think the nation is headed in the wrong direction. Against a generic Republican, Obama doesn't do so well, but he still has a slight lead of 42% to 39%. The Wall Street Journal notes the instability of the field of non-Romney GOP candidates: In April, Donald Trump was in second place; in June it was Sarah Palin in second and Herman Cain in third—while Bachmann languished at just 3%.