- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is maintaining a sizable lead in the early caucus state of Iowa, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Wednesday morning, with Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas making moves forward since a similar survey was released in February.

Mr. Walker was the choice of 21 percent of likely GOP caucus goers, followed by Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mr. Rubio at 13 percent apiece, Mr. Cruz at 12 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 11 percent.

Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson was at 7 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was at 5 percent, with no other candidate above 3 percent.

Mr. Bush, who slipped 5 points from the February poll, actually topped the list at 25 percent when likely participants were asked if there’s a candidate they would definitely not support. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was next at 20 percent, with Mr. Paul third in that category at 10 percent.

“The first few months of the Iowa Republican caucus race show Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker as the early leader. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, on the strength of an impressive candidacy roll out, has moved from the bottom of the pack into a tie for second,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac poll. “Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has yet to formalize his candidacy while he amasses what most expect to be a massive fund-raising lead, runs seventh with just 5 percent of the vote.”

In a February Quinnipiac poll, Mr. Walker was at 25 percent, followed by Mr. Paul at 13 percent, Mr. Carson and Mr. Huckabee at 11 percent apiece, Mr. Bush at 10 percent, Mr. Cruz at 5 percent, and Mr. Rubio tied with former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and Mr. Christie at 4 percent.

Since that time, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Paul, Mr. Rubio, Mr. Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Mr. Huckabee have officially announced they are running for president.

Mr. Rubio had a 69 percent/9 percent favorable/unfavorable split, the best score in the GOP field, and 65 percent said his positions on the issues are “about right” — also tops in the field.

Mr. Walker had a 59 percent/11 percent favorable/unfavorable split, and Mr. Paul had a 59 percent/23 percent split.

Mr. Cruz was at a 59 percent/19 percent split, and Mr. Huckabee, who declared his candidacy Tuesday and won the 2008 Iowa caucuses, had a 64 percent/27 percent split.

Mr. Carson, who declared his candidacy Monday, was at a 53 percent/9 percent split, while Mr. Bush got a negative 39 percent/45 percent split, with 45 percent saying the former Florida governor is not conservative enough on the issues.

“More of those surveyed view Bush unfavorably than favorably, compared to Walker’s 5-1 positive ratio. And 45 percent say Bush is not conservative enough. It’s among the GOP conservative base that Bush finds himself trailing Sen. Ted Cruz, former Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul,” Mr. Brown said.

“For national unknowns like Walker and Rubio, a fast start in Iowa may be critical to their chances of overall success, while supporters of national names like Bush note that fewer than half of Iowa winners wind up inhabiting the Oval Office,” he said.

The survey of 667 likely Iowa caucus goers was taken from April 25-May 4 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

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