Poll: Walker, Bush Lead GOP Presidential Field

Poll: Walker, Bush Lead GOP Presidential Field
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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker leads the early race for the Republican presidential nomination, followed closely by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, according to a poll released Thursday.

In a survey of Republican voters and those who lean Republican, 18 percent said they would vote for Walker if the GOP primary were held today, according to a poll from Quinnipiac University. Bush was within the margin of error, trailing slightly with 16 percent of voters.

The rest of the field was a few steps behind, though the preference of voters for governors continued. Current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee both had 8 percent of the support; neurosurgeon Ben Carson followed with 7 percent.

The trio of U.S. senators contemplating runs for the White House trailed behind, with Rand Paul and Ted Cruz each getting 6 percent and Marco Rubio getting 5 percent.

Though Bush was near the top of the field, he also led the way, along with Christie, when voters were asked which politician they would definitely not support. The two both got 16 percent, well above any other potential candidate.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton was the runaway favorite, with 56 percent of Democratic or Democratic-leaning voters saying they would support her if the primary were held today. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has repeatedly insisted she is not running for president, was second with 14 percent. Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders followed with 10 and 4 percent, respectively. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who had managed just 1 percent in Quinnipiac polls last year, failed to register even that much in Thursday’s poll.

On the slim chance that Clinton forgoes a White House bid, 35 percent of voters would prefer Biden and 25 percent Warren.

In hypothetical matchups, Clinton beat each of the top Republican choices by between three and 10 percentage points – the slimmest margin was in the potential matchup with Bush.

The poll of 1,286 Americans, conducted Feb. 26-March 2, has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. The survey included 554 Republicans (margin of error: 4.2 percentage points) and 493 Democrats (margin of error: 4.4 percentage points).

James Arkin is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at jarkin@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @JamesArkin.

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