- The Washington Times - Friday, February 6, 2015

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush leads a wide-open Republican field of prospective 2016 presidential candidates in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, according to a new WMUR Granite State poll from the University of New Hampshire survey center.

Seventeen percent of likely GOP primary voters supported Mr. Bush, with Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker next at 12 percent and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee next at 9 percent apiece.

Eight percent went for retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who was followed by Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida at 5 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 4 percent, and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, businessman Donald Trump and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania at 2 percent apiece.

Receiving 1 percent of the vote were Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former New York Gov. George Pataki.

Fifteen percent said they were undecided.

Mr. Walker, who has led in recent polling on the field in Iowa and New Hampshire, had the highest net favorability rating, though he was still relatively unknown: Thirty-nine percent viewed him favorably, compared to 9 percent who had an unfavorable opinion and 46 percent who didn’t know.

Mr. Trump was by far the least popular name in the field; 69 percent viewed him unfavorably and 19 percent viewed him favorably. More than one-fifth of likely GOP primary voters also said they would not vote for him under any circumstance, which was the most of any potential candidate.

Former Massachusetts Gov. and 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who had been leading the field, announced he would not be running on Jan. 30, and the poll was conducted Jan. 22 to Feb. 3. He was removed after his announcement, and the poll then allocated the second choice votes from those who had preferred Mr. Romney to the appropriate candidates.

The survey of 348 likely Republican primary voters had a margin of error of plus or minus 5.3 percent.

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

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