- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has a small lead over Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in a new national poll on the possible 2016 GOP presidential field.

Mr. Bush is the choice of 13 percent of Republican voters in the Monmouth University poll, followed by Mr. Cruz and Mr. Walker at 11 percent apiece. Mr. Cruz officially launched a bid for the White House last month.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was next at 9 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businessman Donald Trump at 7 percent apiece.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who is announcing his own presidential bid Tuesday, was at 6 percent, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 5 percent apiece. No other potential candidate included in the survey topped 1 percent.

Among those considered to be “very conservative,” Mr. Cruz leads at 20 percent, followed by Mr. Walker at 16 percent, Mr. Bush and Mr. Carson at 11 percent apiece, and Mr. Huckabee at 10 percent.

Mr. Walker has the highest net favorability rating of the 17 names listed in the poll; 44 percent of Republican voters view him favorably compared to 9 percent who view him unfavorably — though nearly half of the GOP voters didn’t yet know enough about him to have formed an opinion.

“Scott Walker may be that rare candidate who has true cross-over appeal in all wings of the GOP,” said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute. “The more Republican voters get to know him, the more they like him; and that goes for conservatives, moderates, and Tea Party supporters alike.”

Mr. Walker has a positive 61-7 percent favorable/unfavorable rating among Tea Party supporters and a 63-4 percent favorable/unfavorable rating among strong conservatives.

Mr. Trump has the worst net favorability rating and is the only one with an unfavorable rating north of 50 percent, at 56 percent.

The survey of 1,005 adults included 355 registered voters who identified themselves as Republicans or Republican leaners and was conducted from March 30 to April 2. The sample of Republican voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.2 percent.

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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