With Romney out, Scott Walker leads Iowa poll with 16%, Bush at 9%

GOP primary Iowa poll from 2/1/15
GOP primary Iowa poll from 2/1/15

A Des Moines Register poll from Iowa came out today, showing Scott Walker in the lead, and the lead increases if Romney is out.

Here are the details:

Presidential stage newcomer Scott Walker, the conservative reform pit bull who inspired death threats from the left, has become the one to watch in the race for the Republican nomination a year out from the Iowa caucuses.

At 15 percentage points, he leads a big, tightly packed field of potential contenders in a new Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics Iowa Poll of likely Republican caucusgoers. The caucuses are scheduled for Feb. 1, 2016.

The Wisconsin governor is also the No. 2 most popular choice for likely caucusgoers who want an establishment candidate, and he’s the No. 2 for those who want an anti-establishment candidate, the poll shows.

“He’s in a sweet spot,” pollster J. Ann Selzer said. “People who don’t want an ultra-conservative think he’s OK. People who don’t want a moderate think he’s OK.”

[…]The day after polling wrapped up, Romney announced he’s out of the competition. When the numbers in this poll are shuffled — by giving Romney’s votes to the contenders his supporters named as their second-choice pick — the five others in the top tier gain support.

[…]Walker’s support has jumped 11 points since the last Iowa Poll. In October, only 4 percent of likely caucusgoers named Walker as their first choice for president.

[…]At the same time, the favorability rating for Walker has climbed 11 percentage points; Carson, 9; Huckabee, 7; Cruz, 6; Santorum, 5; and Paul, 5, the new poll shows.

“The candidates perceived as more conservative are not only leading but are gaining,” GOP strategist Vin Weber, a former Minnesota congressman, noted after looking over the results.

Walker and Carson have the lowest “unfavorable” ratings:

GOP primary Favorability
GOP primary Favorability

This is good news for Walker, but it’s disturbing to me that Huckabee (big government tax-and-spend moderate) and Paul (Peter Pan isolationist pot-legalizer) are that high up in the poll. Ben Carson is looking good, though. I like that the leftist establishment candidates (Bush, Christie and Romney) all had high unfavorable ratings. That’s a good sign.

Walker was on ABC’s This Week show:

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has not officially announced that he will run for president in 2016, but he is feeling very confident about his chances.

Martha Raddatz, host of ABC’s “This Week,” asked Walker on Sunday morning whether there is a 99 percent chance he’ll run.

“I don’t know that I’d take the odds,” Walker responded. “I’ll just tell you one thing. After three elections for governor in four years in a state that hasn’t gone Republican since 1984 for president, I wouldn’t bet against me on anything.”

A new Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll shows Walker as the favorite among possible GOP presidential candidates. The governor was the first choice of 15 percent of respondents, just edging out Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Walker said he believes he could defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton because she represents an earlier era in Washington, D.C., politics for which most Americans are not nostalgic.

“People want new, fresh leadership with big, bold ideas, and the courage to act on it,” Walker said. “And if we’re going to take on a name from the past, which is likely to be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, I think for the party we need a name from the future.”

Looking good. Again, we have to have a candidate who is competent enough on fiscal issues, and has the results, if we hope to get around the media’s tendency to go after social conservatives. My list right now is this:

  1. Scott Walker
  2. Bobby Jindal
  3. Rick Perry
  4. Susan Martinez
  5. Ted Cruz

Pence is off my list after a couple of recent big government missteps (state media and Medicaid expansion).

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