On Sunday, Gallup's daily tracking poll had President Barack Obama's approval rating at 39 percent, his lowest in more than a year.
Pawlenty had aggressively criticized Bachmann as light on experience and accomplishment in her three terms in the U.S. House, compared with his two terms as governor in a politically divided state. Perry, Texas' longest-serving governor, is viewed as an establishment candidate who could be attractive to former backers of Pawlenty.
Bachmann said experience as a governor — a job held by the last two two-term Republican presidents — is not a prerequisite for the White House.
"Jimmy Carter was also a governor," she said of the former Democratic president during an appearance on ABC's "This Week." ''So, being a governor and having governor-level experience isn't the No. 1 requirement."
Bachmann and libertarian favorite Texas Gov. Ron Paul combined to receive more than 60 percent of the vote at the straw poll, sending a strong anti-establishment message from Iowa's GOP activist base.
Perry, who headlined a prayer rally of more than 30,000 born-again Christians in Houston this month, is focusing during his Iowa introduction on the party establishment and business community.
He plans to hold private meetings with GOP elected officials as he travels around the state Monday and Tuesday in a motor coach splashed with his name and the slogan "Get America working again." On Tuesday, Perry plans to hold an economic roundtable with businesspeople in Dubuque.
"We're going to spend a lot of time in Iowa," Perry told reporters.
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