As this story points out, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush poll quite well around the country but they fall short in early states like Iowa where the caucus electorate will be much more conservative than either man. In that regard, Iowa tends to differ greatly from New Hampshire, which favors more socially liberal, slightly more moderate candidates like John McCain, for example.
Report from Bloomberg:
Chris Christie and Jeb Bush are both among the Republican Party’s most popular governors to ever lead big states, New Jersey and Florida. It’s a little state, though, that could trip up their presidential ambitions. Simply put: Iowa Republican caucusgoers don’t like either of them very much.
“I see a failure in both of those guys to stand with conservative thinkers,” Dave Peters, a Baptist pastor from Waterloo, Iowa, said in describing his opposition to Bush and Christie.
“They’re lifetime politicians, and that says it all,” said Judy Devries, a mental health counselor in Council Bluffs.
Iowa’s status as the first state to hold a presidential nominating contest every four years gives the small Midwestern state an oversized role, dooming the campaigns of some contenders and giving momentum to others. In a Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll released Tuesday, likely Republican caucusgoers were asked who would be their first pick for the party’s 2016 nomination. Bush stood at 4 percent, Christie came in at 6 percent, and “not sure” got 9 percent. [Emphasis added]
The party’s 2012 nominee, Mitt Romney, was the top choice with Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon turned Republican activist, coming in second.
However, with all that said, does Iowa ultimately matter if a candidate builds national momentum in a compressed primary calendar? That’s the question which will be answered by the order in which the 2016 primary calendar shakes out over coming months.