Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker continues to lead in Iowa according to the latest Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll.
Walker garnered the support of 17% of respondents, up from 15% in the last Register poll. Coming in second with 10% were Rand Paul and Ben Carson.
Jeb Bush polled at 9%, but more than a third of Iowans said they would not vote for him under any circumstances.
“Scott Walker’s momentum puts him solidly in first place,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of West Des Moines-based Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “For the time being, he’s doing the right things to make the right first impression.”
In the previous Iowa Poll, taken in January, Walker stood atop the field at 15 percent.
Walker shouldn’t count on an Iowa win just yet, especially with such a large and unsettled field. Four years ago, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and then-Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann sat atop the Iowa Poll at 23 percent and 22 percent. Romney ultimately finished a close second in Iowa, while Bachmann ended up sixth and exited the race the following morning.
The latest poll shows Rubio is the most popular second choice at 12 percent, an indication of potential strength. Among first-choice preferences, the junior senator from Florida doubled his showing since the Iowa Poll in January.
When first and second choices are combined, Rubio ranks second to Walker, 18 percent to 27 percent. “That may foreshadow growing stature,” Selzer said of Rubio.
Rounding out the rest of the declared and likely Republican field for first-choice preferences, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas is at 5 percent, businessman Donald Trump and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are at 4 percent, former Texas Governor Rick Perry is at 3 percent, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Ohio Governor John Kasich are at 2 percent, and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina are at 1 percent. Former New York Governor George Pataki’s support was less than 1 percent.
When first and second choices are combined, those with the strongest showings after Walker and Rubio are Huckabee at 17 percent, Bush at 16 percent, and Carson and Paul at 15 percent.
At this early stage, Bush ranks first with none of the demographic groups broken out in the poll’s results, although he is second behind Walker among those 65 and older, college graduates, and Catholics.
Bush has raised $100 million and still can’t overcome his name, nor his positions on immigration reform and Common Core. Those “headwinds” mentioned in the article could become a hurricane-force gale — especially as other candidates become known to Iowans.
But Bush is still the second choice of 16% of Iowa Republicans — close enough to hold out hope if Walker were to stumble. Indeed, Jeb Bush is going to have to hope for a gaffe-filled campaign season. He’s got the cash for the long haul, but his appeal to conservatives is so limited that even if he plays the “last man standing” game, there’s a chance that he still wouldn’t get enough delegates for a first ballot win at the convention.
With 16 candidates in the poll, it’s questionable whether any survey can accurately reflect the sentiments of voters. And with seven months to go before the Iowa caucuses even convene, if the poll tells us anything, it’s that there is plenty of time for trailing candidates to change hearts and minds and climb into contention.