Is Michele Bachmann Still a Top-Tier Candidate?

Bachmann campaign faces internal upheaval while Rick Perry steals her thunder.

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As Mallie Jane Kim reported in August, Michele Bachmann's victory at the Ames Straw Poll seemed to prove that she was a credible candidate and not just a fringe long-shot. Peter Roff agreed, saying, "Her victory at Ames showed she can, in fact, put boots on the ground and get people to turn out to support her." She was thus cemented as a "top tier candidate," along with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the latest entry in the race for the GOP presidential nomination, and former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, who boasts a large campaign war chest. [See photos of the GOP hopefuls on the campaign trail.]

Some three weeks later, it appears Bachmann has lost some of her stable footing. Perry has eclipsed both Bachmann and Romney in poll numbers. Danielle Kurtzleben reported that Perry was able to steal Bachmann's thunder with his executive experience, job creation record, broad appeal, and big Texas donor base. Furthermore, her campaign faces internal upheaval. Her campaign manager, Ed Rollins, announced his resignation Monday, along with his deputy chief David Polyansky. Rollins, who is 68, blamed his health and the long hours for his resignation; he says he will continue to serve Bachmann in an advisory role. But in an interview with CNN he conceded, "I think legitimately it's a Romney-Perry race. I think she's the third candidate at this point in time," qualifying his assessment with, "which is way different and better than we'd thought when we started this thing—and she's very much in this thing."

What do you think? Can Michele Bachmann still consider herself a top-tier candidate? Take the poll and comment below.

This poll is now closed, but the debate continues in the comments section.

Previously: Do the Flat Jobs Numbers Point To a Double Dip Recession?