Public Policy Polling: Scott Walker ‘well ahead’ of other GOP presidential candidates in Iowa

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Scott Walker

IOWA (WITI) — The latest Public Policy Polling Iowa poll shows Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker well ahead of the rest of the Republican field in Iowa with 23% voter support.

That’s compared with 13% for Marco Rubio, 12% for Jeb Bush, 10% each for Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul, 8% for Ted Cruz, 7% for Ben Carson, 5% for Chris Christie and 4% for Rick Perry.

Walker has the highest favorability out of anyone in the field, with 59% of voters viewing him favorably to 13% who have an unfavorable view.

The key to Walker’s success is that he’s winning both among voters who are most concerned about electability in the general election and among voters who are most concerned with having the most conservative candidate. Among voters who say being able to win in the general is their top priority, Walker gets 21% to edge out Marco Rubio (20%) and Jeb Bush (17%). His lead is much more emphatic among voters saying conservatism is their top priority- with them he gets 29% to 14% for Cruz, 12% for Paul, and 10% for Huckabee.

Rubio’s second place standing reflects his recent rise nationally. Boding well for him is that beyond being in second place overall, he is also tied with Walker for being the most frequent second choice of voters at 13%. That gives him a lot of room to grow if other candidates falter along the way.

Bush’s third place finish is because he really continues to struggle with conservative voters in the key early states. Overall he only has a 38/37 favorability rating, and that’s because with those identifying themselves as ‘very conservative’ he comes in at 30/45. He only polls at 2% as the first choice for the nomination with that group, putting him in last place. He still finishes third overall due to solid performances with moderates and voters identifying as just ‘somewhat conservative.’ Bush’s 12% standing is steady though- it’s where we found him when we last polled the state a year ago as well- Iowa so far just doesn’t seem to be a very strong place for him.

Other notes on the Iowa Republican field:

-Ted Cruz’s 8% standing suggests that whatever bump he might have gotten following his official candidacy announcement has already worn off. We were finding him in double digits in most of the polls we conducted across the country before Rubio and Paul joined the field as well. Cruz was at 15% when we last polled Iowa in May so if anything he might be losing steam.

-Mike Huckabee’s 57/23 favorability makes him the second most popular potential candidate we polled on in Iowa. But support for him to actually be the party nominee next year is very much on the decline- last May he was in first place at 20%,

-Chris Christie continues to be very unpopular with GOP voters- only 28% have a favorable opinion of him to 50% with a negative one, making him by far and away the most unpopular candidate in the state. The only other hopefuls under water are Lindsey Graham (19/30), George Pataki (7/25), and Rick Snyder (4/10). Snyder’s favorability numbers are about what you would get for a name picked out of a hat, suggesting he starts out with zero profile in the state at all.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton leads with 62% to 14% for Bernie Sanders, 6% for Martin O’Malley, 3% for Jim Webb, and 2% for Lincoln Chafee. We have now found Sanders polling at double digits in both Iowa and New Hampshire. He leads the non-Clinton candidates in name recognition at 56%, followed by 34% for O’Malley, 31% for Webb, and 25% for Chafee. Sanders is also the most frequently named second choice at 18% to 14% for O’Malley, and 12% for Clinton.

PPP didn’t include them in the horse race question due to their lack of steps toward a candidacy but Joe Biden (71/15 favorability) and Elizabeth Warren (66/8) are both popular with Democratic voters in Iowa. Bill de Blasio (18/15) is largely unknown.

Clinton polls over 50% for the nomination with liberals, moderates, men, women and voters in every age group.