With Romney’s exit now firmly accepted by Republican voters, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has once again secured the top spot in the minds of Iowa republicans, albeit by a hair. He’s got some steep competition but, from a campaign standpoint, it appears he hasn’t lost any ground in Iowa in the past seven years.
Report from the Washington Times:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the state of Iowa during his 2008 presidential run, leads among potential 2016 Republican caucus attendees in the Hawkeye State in a new NBC News/Marist poll.
Mr. Huckabee is the presidential choice for 17 percent of Republicans, followed by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush at 16 percent and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker at 15 percent.
Next is New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at 9 percent, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7 percent, and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 6 percent apiece.
Also receiving votes were former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who came from behind to win Iowa in 2012, at 5 percent, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 4 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas at 2 percent and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina at 1 percent.
The lead is thin, within the margin of error, but it speaks to how well a candidate can play regionally versus nationally. Interestingly enough, Santorum is sitting pretty low with several other options ahead of him which I think will end up rendering his campaign tractionless.
The same poll also asked Democrats their preference, which produced a sizable lead for Hillary Clinton:
On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton leads in the battle for the presidential nomination with 68 percent of the vote, followed by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. at 12 percent and Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont Independent, at 7 percent.
The poll does not include Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat, because she has said she is not running for president in 2016.
Iowa remains competitive on the GOP side and I’d expect that up until we get closer to the actual caucus date.