Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has opened up a big lead in Iowa, the nation’s first caucus state, a new Quinnipiac poll said Wednesday.
Walker polled 25 percent, twice as much as his closest rival, in the Republican presidential derby. He benefits from his conservative ties, and because he’s fairly well known since he comes from a nearby state.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is second at 13 percent, followed by retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at 11 percent each. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is at 10 percent.
"Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is taking the Republican political world by storm," said Peter Brown, Quinnipiac Poll assistant director.
"He's gone from being unknown outside Wisconsin to the hot candidate, poised to become the front-runner for the GOP presidential nomination. Front-runner status would make it easier for Gov. Walker to raise money and recruit top talent for his staff, but it also puts a target on his back.”
Walker’s recent missteps, such as his silence when sitting near former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani when Giuliani said President Barack Obama didn’t love America, haven’t hurt him much. "Perhaps most impressive about Walker's numbers is that 57 percent view him favorably to only 7 percent who view him unfavorably - a heck of a first impression,” Brown said.
But he had one note of caution: The caucus is about a year away, and the last two winners, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Huckabee, didn’t come close to winning the nomination.
--DAVID LIGHTMAN, McClatchy Washington Bureau