Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is the top choice at the moment for potential Iowa Republican caucus voters, according to a new Loras College poll.
The Dubuque, Iowa-based colleges inaugural survey showed Huckabee with 14.7 percent. Trailing were former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, 10.7 percent; Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, 8.5 percent; House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, 8.3 percent; New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, 8 percent; Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, 6.2 percent and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 4.7 percent each. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has 3 percent.
As of right now, the Republican presidential caucus field is wide open, said Christopher Budzisz, associate professor of politics and director of the Loras College Poll, in a press release. "It is not too surprising to see potential candidates who have performed well in Iowa before, such as Governor Huckabee, at the top of the poll.
Added Budzisz, "Iowans tend to reward those candidates who have spent their time in Iowa and have developed a familiarity with the state and its voters. The caucus is something of an intimate political process relying heavily on what we call the 'retail politics' of shaking hands, diner stops and town halls, said Budzisz. Among his other findings: One-fourth of the voters did not have a first choice preference candidate, and when people were asked for a second choice, Bush got the most backing.
Six hundred likely caucus-goers were surveyed April 7 and 8. Margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.