Poll: Scott Walker leads, Jeb Bush trails most GOP rivals in Iowa

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Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is the top dog with a big early lead in the Iowa Republican Caucus, with a four-way scramble for second place and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in seventh place with 5 percent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.

Walker is at 21 percent of likely GOP caucus participants, compared to 25 percent in a February 25 poll by the independent Quinnipiac University.

In the scramble for second place are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida with 13 percent each, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas with 12 percent and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee with 11 percent. Physician Ben Carson has 7 percent, with 5 percent for Bush. No other candidate is above 3 percent and 6 percent are undecided.

Bush tops the list at 25 percent, followed by New Jersey Gov. Christopher Christie with 20 percent, when likely Republican Caucus participants are asked if there is any candidate they would definitely not support.” Paul is next on this negative list with 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.”

Iowa likely Republican Caucus participants have a 69 – 9 percent favorable opinion of Rubio, the best score in the GOP field. The Florida senator’s positions on the issues are “about right,” 65 percent say, also the best in the field. Walker gets a 59 – 11 percent favorability rating, with 62 percent of caucus participants saying his positions on issues are “about right.”

Scores for other leading Republican candidates are:

• Negative 39 – 45 percent favorability rating for Bush, and 36 percent saying he’s about right on issues, while 45 percent say he’s not conservative enough;

• 53 – 9 percent favorable for Carson, and 56 percent saying he’s about right on the issues;

• Negative 32 – 56 percent favorable for Christie, and 52 percent saying he’s not conservative enough on issues;

• 59 – 19 percent favorable for Cruz, and 58 percent saying he’s about right;

• 64 – 27 percent favorable for Huckabee, and 59 percent about right on the issues;

• 59 – 23 percent favorable for Paul, and 51 percent saying he’s about right.

Looking at Walker, likely Republican Caucus participants say 69 – 11 percent that he is honest and trustworthy; 72 – 10 percent that he has strong leadership qualities and 72 – 11 percent that he cares about their needs and problems.

Paul scores 77 – 13 percent for being honest and trustworthy, 70 – 19 percent for having strong leadership qualities and 75 – 15 percent for caring for voter needs and problems.

Rubio is honest and trustworthy, voters say 72 – 13 percent; with 70 – 14 percent for strong leadership qualities and 72 – 15 percent for caring for voter needs and problems.

“Walker scores very highly on a variety of matrixes – honesty, leadership, caring about the needs of average folks and his favorability among caucus-goers,” Brown said. “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.

“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.”

From April 25 – May 4, Quinnipiac University surveyed 667 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants with a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percentage points. Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.

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