Remember when Mike Huckabee was the GOP nominee for president?
No, of course you don’t, because although the former Arkansas governor won the 2008 Iowa Caucus, he didn’t come close to challenging John McCain for the nomination that year.
With that in mind, check out the results of Wednesday’s Quinnipiac poll on who’s leading in Iowa for 2016: It’s Scott Walker up big, with 25% of the vote. Rand Paul is a distant second with 13%. Huckabee and Ben Carson at 11%, and Jeb Bush trailing at 10%.
There’s more bad news for Bush in the early going.
The former Florida governor ties New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in terms of unpopularity among likely GOP caucus voters. Among them 26% they “would definitely not support” either of those candidates. When it comes to personal approval ratings, Bush scores a mediocre 41% approval ranking, with 40% disapproving. But that’s a veritable mandate compared with Christie, who gets only 30% of Iowa GOP Caucus voters approving him, with 54% showing their disapproval.
It should be noted that while many of the above-mentioned candidates have been making frequent trips to Iowa, Bush has yet to step on the ground there. He’s scheduled to appear there for the first time in years on March 7 at the Iowa Ag Summit.
The big story out of this poll isn’t Bush’s struggles, but Walker’s ascendency.
Quinnipiac pollster Peter A. Brown says the Wisconsin governor is taking the Republican political world by storm. “He’s gone from being unknown outside Wisconsin to the hot candidate, poised to become the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination, ” he said. “Front-runner status would make it easier for Governor Walker to raise money and recruit top talent for his staff, but it also puts a target on his back.”
Brown adds a cautionary note, though.
The poll was conducted between Feb. 16 and 23. Quinnipiac University surveyed 623 likely Iowa Republican Caucus participants with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9%.