Poll: Scott Walker leads 2016 GOP presidential field in N.H.

AP image
AP image

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has pulled out in front of the GOP field in New Hampshire, leading former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 23 percent to 16 percent, according to a new poll conducted for my radio show by Florida-based Gravis Insights.

On the Democratic side, former First Lady Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Elizabeth Warren of neighboring Massachusetts, 44-25. About 13 percent of Granite State Democrats favor another senator from a neighboring state: Bernie Sanders of Vermont. Vice President Joe Biden trailed far behind with 5 percent.

The Gravis poll continues a recent impressive run by the second-term Wisconsin governor. Our Gravis survey is the second this week of New Hampshire Republicans to show Walker leading in the state where the nation’s first presidential primary will take place a year from now. Gravis conducted the poll after the withdrawal last week of former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who spends much of the summer in New Hampshire at his vacation home on Lake Winnipesaukee.

Doug Kaplan, managing partner of Gravis, said: “What we are seeing is Mitt’s support moving to Scott Walker, not to Jeb Bush, which is what we expected.”

The other GOP poll, by NH1, also showed Walker ahead of Bush, 21-14.

In the Gravis poll, 14 percent of the Republican sample was undecided. In third place was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with 12 percent, followed by Sen. Rand Paul with 11 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio at 8 percent.

Sen. Ted Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee each had 6 percent. Former Sen. Rick Santorum was at 3 percent and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry got 2 percent.

The strong showing by Gov. Walker follows his well-received speech at the Iowa Freedom Summit in January, after which he easily won a Drudge Report poll with 47 percent of a self-selecting sample of more than 300,000 Internet users.

In the Gravis poll, most surprising was the rather weak showing of Sen. Rand Paul in a state in which the GOP electorate leans libertarian. Plus, the Paul name is familiar to NH voters – his father Ron Paul ran in the last two Granite State presidential primaries, finishing second to Mitt Romney in 2012 with 23 percent of the vote.

Rand Paul’s campaign has sputtered a bit of late, with several snippy media interviews, as well as criticism of his recent statements on vaccinations. He has even been criticized over his decision to wear casual clothes at last month’s Koch Brothers-sponsored meeting of Republican fat cats in Rancho Mirage, California.

Kaplan noted that Paul, like his father in his campaigns, is spending much more time in-state, and has recruited several members of former U.S. Sen. Bob Smith’s organization.

“With the undecided at 14 percent,” he said, “there is room for Paul to make up ground.”

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton and her husband, the former president, have always been popular in New Hampshire. She won the 2008 NH Democratic primary over then-Sen. Barack Obama, 39-36.

Sen. Warren has repeatedly said she is not running for president. Oddly, she polled better in New Hampshire this week than she did in her home state two weeks ago. In that Gravis Marketing poll of Massachusetts Democrats, Hillary easily defeated the freshman senator, 46-22 percent.

Kaplan said Warren’s numbers remain unimpressive, despite her Hollywood and leftwing media fan bases.

“She’s the buzz with people who report the buzz,” said Kaplan. “But she doesn’t buzz with regular New Hampshire Democrats. Considering that half the state is in the Warren-loving Boston media market, that 25 percent is very disappointing.”

For the New Hampshire poll, Gravis sampled 608 GOP respondents, and 384 Democrats. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent for the GOP poll, plus or minus 5 percent for the Democratic poll.

Listen to Howie Carr’s radio show every week day from 3-7PM EST

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