- The Washington Times - Friday, February 20, 2015

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was first and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was a close second in a new poll on potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders in the early primary state of South Carolina.

Mr. Bush was at 19 percent in the poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, and Mr. Walker was at 18 percent, with retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson tied with native son Sen. Lindsey Graham at 13 percent.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was next at 12 percent, followed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 7 percent, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 5 percent, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 3 percent apiece.

Six in 10 GOP voters thought Mr. Graham, who recently formed an exploratory committee to weigh running for president, should not run.

Among voters who identified themselves as moderates, Mr. Bush had a 36 percent — a 6 percent advantage — over Mr. Walker, but Mr. Walker led him among “very conservative” voters, 27 percent to 12 percent.

About half of GOP voters still didn’t know enough about Mr. Walker to have formed an opinion on him, though he had a 41 percent/10 percent favorable/unfavorable split. Mr. Huckabee had the highest favorability rating, with a 65 percent/14 percent favorable/unfavorable split.

Some possible contenders not listed as options were Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.

The survey of 868 registered voters, including 525 Republican primary voters, was taken from Feb. 12-15. The margin of error for the GOP sample is plus or minus 4.3 percent.

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

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