PPP Poll: Huckabee Leads Tight GOP Race in Iowa

Thursday, 22 May 2014 05:48 PM

By Jason Devaney

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Mike Huckabee holds a narrow lead over other potential GOP candidates for president among Iowa voters, according to a new poll.

Public Policy Polling reports that the former governor of Arkansas has 20 percent of the support, 5 percentage points more than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is supported by 12 percent of those polled, while New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (9 percent), Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (10 percent), and Wis. Rep. Paul Ryan (8 percent) are not all that far behind.

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The poll included 914 Iowa voters — which included 303 Republicans and 356 Democrats — and was conducted from May 15-19.

Every GOP candidate mentioned above, with the exception of Christie, carries a positive favorability rating. Huckabee has the highest rating at 70 percent favorable vs. 14 percent unfavorable, followed by Paul (60/12), Ryan (60/15), Cruz (58/11), and Bush (48/25). Thirty-six percent of voters polled have a favorable view of Christie, while 38 percent think the opposite of him.

The George Washington Bridge lane-closing scandal has severely affected Christie's image across the nation. Once thought of as a potential candidate for president, the GOP has reversed its view on Christie in the wake of the incident that shook up his administration. Bush has since replaced Christie as the target of many big Republican party donors.

With the Republican race wide open in Iowa, overall voter support for president — according to the Public Policy Polling numbers — goes to Hillary Clinton, who has also yet to commit to running in 2016. In hypothetical head-to-head matchups, the former New York senator and Secretary of State under President Obama leads all of the GOP contenders.

Clinton has the edge over Bush (44 percent to 39 percent), Christie (45 to 39), Cruz (47 to 40), and both Huckabee and Paul (46 to 42). The difference seems to be the moderate voters, of which more than 50 percent said they would vote for her in those matchups should she decide to run.

Nearly 20 percent of the voters polled were undecided about who they would support in the aforementioned matchups, more than half of which were conservatives.

"The story in Iowa — and everywhere that we poll — remains the same," said Public Policy Polling president Dean Debnam. "The Republican nomination is completely up in the air while Democrats are pretty firmly behind Hillary Clinton if she decides to get into the race. And Clinton is the early favorite for the general election in most of the major swing states as well."

Iowa has voted for the Democratic candidate in six of the last seven presidential elections after having voted Republican in the majority of the previous elections.

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