Shuffling Among The Broad Field
Of GOP Candidates In New Iowa Poll

June 2, 2015 — Iowa pollster Selzer & Company was back in the field conducting another presidential poll for the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics and produced results showing a clear leader in the Republican field. The group has been the regular DMR pollster for the past several election cycles.

The survey (May 25-29; 402 likely Iowa GOP Caucus attenders from a pool of 4,161 Iowa registered voters) again finds Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) leading the huge pack of 16 Republican presidential hopefuls, just as he was in their previous January poll.

Despite not overtly campaigning, or being a major presence in the news during the last month, Gov. Walker is demonstrating staying power in this important first-in-the-nation caucus state. He garnered 17 percent support, with a combined preference number of 27 percent. Only 15 percent of the respondent sample said they would “never” consider voting for him, the lowest percentage of any candidate.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dr. Ben Carson were tied for second on the first ballot test, both attracting 10 percent support. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and ex-Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa Caucus vote, are tied for fourth place at nine percent preference.

The succeeding ballot test queried the respondents’ second choices, and here it is Florida Sen. Marco Rubio who tops the list with 12 percent, followed by Gov. Walker at 10 percent.

Combining the first and second choice question responses, we find eight candidates in double digits, with Walker again leading with 27 percent, Sen. Rubio next at 18 percent, and Huckabee posting 17 percent. The rest of the top tier finished as follows: Bush (16 percent), Carson (15 percent), Paul (15 percent), Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (13 percent), and former senator and 2012 Iowa Caucus winner Rick Santorum (12 percent). The remaining eight candidates managed only single-digit finishes even when combining the first and second choice responses.

The questionnaire also delved into favorability ratings for all candidates. Here again, Gov. Walker tops the field with a 66:10 percent favorable to unfavorable ratio. Of the 16 candidates, 11, including Walker, registered in positive territory.

Of the five upside-down Republicans, even among members of their own party, businessman Donald Trump fares the worst by a substantial margin. His favorability ratio is a terrible 27:63 percent, and he also finishes first on the “never” list, with 58 percent of the Republican sample answering that they would never vote for him.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie isn’t too far behind Trump on the negative scale as these Iowa voters judge. His favorability ratio is a comparable 28:58 percent with 45 percent saying they would never vote for him. The three others in the negative realm are former New York Gov. George Pataki (10:35 percent; 41 percent never); Sen. Lindsey Graham (22:38 percent; 43 percent never); and former Gov. Bush (43:45 percent; 35 percent never).

What we see from Selzer & Company is yet another recent poll projecting clear ascendency on the part of Gov. Walker and Sen. Rubio, with Dr. Carson consistently performing strongly. Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and California Senate candidate Carly Fiorina also has the underpinnings of a candidate with upward Hawkeye State potential. It is likely that both Huckabee and Santorum will be factors in the Iowa Caucuses.

Trump, who says he will announce his presidential effort on June 16, continues to poll in an almost hopeless situation. Bush is stagnating, suggesting clear signs of political weakness despite the strongest of success on the fundraising trail.

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