The Washington Times - December 16, 2013, 10:58AM

A new poll that asks Iowa Republicans to rate potential GOP candidates in the 2016 presidential race offers up stark results: Rep. Paul Ryan is incredibly hot right now as a political commodity.

Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who ran on GOP candidate Mitt Romney’s unsuccessful ticket last year, enjoys a “very favorable” or “favorable” rating from 73 percent of those questioned in The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Poll.

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He trumps a field that includes former Iowa caucus winners Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum — at 66 percent and 58 percent, respectively, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (55 percent) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (51 percent).

The poll bodes well for Mr. Ryan, given Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, which kick off the 2016 presidential cycle. The House Budget Committee chairman has been in the headlines of late because he struck a budget deal with his Senate counterpart, Sen. Patty Murray, Washington Democrat, that passed the House and is up for a vote in the Senate this week.

Many quarters have praised the deal as a rare sign of bipartisan compromise after years of careening from one fiscal crisis to another on Capitol Hill.

The poll shows Mr. Christie must do more to win over Midwestern conservatives, despite his popularity among both Republicans and Democrats in his northeastern state.

Among Democrats, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton would steamroll the rest of the field, including Vice President Joseph R. Biden.

Mrs. Clinton enjoys support from 89 percent of Iowa Democrats, with just 7 percent offering up a negative of the former senator from New York and former first lady.

The poll of 650 adults was conducted Dec. 8-11 and has a margin or error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.