Scott Walker Takes Lead In Iowa Poll

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker surged past a crowded field of rivals to take the lead in a Bloomberg/Des Moines Register poll of prospective Republican candidates for president.

In the poll, released on Saturday night, Walker was the first choice of 15 percent of respondents in the poll, up from 4 percent when the poll was conducted in October. Walker bested Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, who was at 14 percent. Mitt Romney was in third at 13 percent; the poll was taken from Monday to Thursday, before he announced his withdrawal from the race. Ex-Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was in fourth with ten percent of voters’ support.

Jeb Bush, who is viewed as the GOP’s establishment choice, was only preferred by eight percent of voters. The results held even more bad news for Bush, receiving a favorability rating of 46 percent, not far from the 43 percent who view him unfavorably.

Walker, who made his name fighting unions, raised his national profile last weekend with a forceful speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit, a high-profile conservative gathering. His appeal as a potential candidate has been increasing, as he has sought to win members of both the GOP establishment and its more conservative ranks. Though the evangelical Christian’s touts conservative agendas and and rhetoric, his record and temperament could win the Republican establishment, the New York Times’ Nate Cohn argued. He recently formed a president exploratory committee, a major sign that he is preparing to run.

Among Democrats, Hillary Clinton was the top choice by far, receiving 56 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) came in second with 16 percent, despite her insistence she isn’t running. Vice President Joe Biden was the first choice for president for 9 percent of respondents.