April 30, 2015 — Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has been quiet during the past month, but if the new Iowa Public Policy Polling presidential nomination survey (April 23-26; 462 likely Iowa Republican caucus attenders; 469 likely Iowa Democratic caucus attenders) is any indication his momentum continues, nevertheless.
Walker, who reportedly will announce his presidential candidacy next month, tops this poll of likely Iowa Caucus attenders with 23 percent preference from the sample group respondents. Continuing his upward move since making his own presidential announcement on April 13, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio jaunts into second place but remains a full 10 percentage points behind Gov. Walker.
Jeb Bush, in another disappointing showing, places third at 12 percent, with former Arkansas governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) rounding out the group in double-digits. Both of these men tie with 10 percent support. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the other formally announced participant among the tested group of nine candidates and potential contenders, scored eight percent.
Another eight individuals, including 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum, were not included on the ballot test question, but PPP did survey their personal approval ratings.
The Republican sector skewed heavily conservative as Sen. Cruz’s and former Sen. Santorum’s numbers suggested. The two are generally viewed as the strongest conservatives in the field. Cruz scored a 52:22 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio; Santorum, an even better 53:19 percent. Seventy-five percent of the Republican sample self-identified as either somewhat (41 percent) or very conservative (34 percent).
Those recording the worst approval ratios were former Gov. George Pataki (7:25 percent), Sen. Lindsey Graham (19:30 percent), Gov. Chris Christie (28:50 percent), businessman Donald Trump (40:40 percent), and former Gov. Bush (38:37 percent). Not surprisingly, Gov. Walker registered the strongest positive ratio at 59:13 percent.
The pollsters also asked a unique question, querying the group about whether choosing the most conservative candidate or the one with the best chance of winning the general election was most important. By a margin of 45-44 percent, this respondent universe virtually tied with the slightest of edges going toward a candidate in the best position to triumph in November.
In the Democratic sample, with 58 percent self-identifying as either somewhat or very liberal, it is again former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton with a commanding lead, 62-14 percent, over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. The senator appears set to formally enter the national contest as early as tomorrow.
Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley posted six percent, with ex-Virginia Sen. Jim Webb pulled in three percent, and former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee managed only two percent.
Vice President Joe Biden was not among those tested in the ballot grouping, but was included on the favorability question. He posted a strong 71:15 percent positive ratio. Faring worst was ex-Gov. Chafee, the only potential contender the Democratic sample group rated in upside down fashion. He registered only a 7:18 percent score.
As we know, Iowa is a very significant nomination state because it hosts the first voting event. Currently, the Iowa Caucuses for both parties are tentatively scheduled on or around Feb. 1 next year.