Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is leading a host of potential 2016 GOP presidential contenders with 25 percent of the vote in a national poll on the nomination contest released Tuesday.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson is second at 18 percent, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 17 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 10 percent, according to the poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas are at 5 percent apiece, followed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 4 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 3 percent apiece.
Mr. Walker was at 11 percent in a PPP poll from last month, which 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney was leading with 21 percent of the vote, followed by Mr. Bush at 17 percent and Mr. Carson at 15 percent. After floating the possibility of entering the race, Mr. Romney said last month he is not running for president again in 2016.
“There is no doubt — Scott Walker is the candidate with all the momentum in the Republican race for President right now,” said Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling. “The big question is whether he will be able to sustain it in a way that most of the fleeting Republican front runners in 2012 couldn’t.”
Among “very conservative” voters, Mr. Walker leads with 37 percent, followed by Mr. Carson’s 19 percent and Mr. Bush’s 12 percent.
Mr. Bush leads Mr. Walker among moderates, 34 percent to 12 percent. But the electorate during the GOP primary process is often comprised of the most passionate grassroots conservatives, many of whom are skeptical of Mr. Bush’s positions on immigration and education.
Mr. Walker also leads among “tea party” voters with 43 percent, with Mr. Carson a distant second at 16 percent.
The survey of 316 Republican primary voters was conducted Feb. 20-22 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.5 percent. It was conducted via automated phone interviews and interviews over the Internet to voters without landlines.