Poll: Scott Walker Leads in Iowa; Bush Lags Behind

Poll: Scott Walker Leads in Iowa; Bush Lags Behind
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In a week where the number of official candidates in the GOP presidential race doubled, still-unannounced Scott Walker leads the pack in Iowa, according to a new poll.

Walker has support from 21 percent of likely Iowa caucus participants, according to a new survey released Wednesday by Quinnipiac University. That’s slightly down from his 25 percent in a similar poll in February, but still well ahead of the rest of the expected Republican field.

Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, both of whom officially launched their campaigns last month, are tied for second place with 13 percent. Not far behind them are fellow Sen. Ted Cruz at 12 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who announced his presidential campaign Tuesday, with 11 percent.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who also launched his bid this week, is in the next tier with 7 percent support from likely caucus-goers, while former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush rounds out the top-seven with 5 percent support. Though there are plenty of other candidates considering a run in 2016, no one else topped more than 3 percent in the poll.

The results spelled more bad news for Bush, who topped the poll at 25 percent when those surveyed were asked which candidate they would definitely not support. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was just behind Bush at 20 percent in that category.

While Rubio is well behind Walker in terms of support, he has the highest favorability rating among the many candidates in the Hawkeye State, with 69 percent of likely caucus-goers holding a favorable opinion of the Florida senator, compared to just 9 percent unfavorable. Walker’s approval, while not quite as high, sits at a healthy 59 percent with just 11 percent unfavorable.

Paul and Cruz share Walker’s 59 percent favorability, though their unfavorable ratings are 23 and 19 percent, respectively. Huckabee has the second highest favorability, at 64 percent, but also has 27 percent unfavorable.

The Quinnipiac poll, conducted April 25-May 4, surveyed 667 likely Republican caucus participants and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 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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