Iowa Republicans are clearly turning away from “establishment candidates.”
That’s the finding of Craig Robinson, editor-in-chief of TheIowaRepublican.com, a widely read partisan website in the nation’s first caucus state, and a new Monmouth University Polling Institute survey.
The Des Moines Register/Bloomberg Politics poll, released Saturday, saw Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, within 5 percentage points of front-runner Donald Trump. A Monmouth University Polling Institute survey, released Monday, had the two in a tie.
“Most Iowa Republicans prefer someone without a traditional political pedigree,” said a poll analysis.
23% Donald Trump and Ben Carson each have that support in the latest Monmouth University Polling Institute survey of Iowa Republicans
Robinson found “the establishment is toxic,” and noted that in the Register poll, candidates who have never held public office, Trump, Carson and former business executive Carly Fiorina, totaled 46 percent. Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida; Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and John Kasich, the governor of Ohio, totaled 14 percent.
Some other observations from Robinson:
“Ben Carson is the antithesis of Trump in his demeanor and how he campaigns in Iowa. Carson enjoys the best favorability numbers in the field with 79 percent of people having a favorable opinion of the retired neurosurgeon, while only 8 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. Carson is essentially undefined and likable. Carson is a big problem for social conservative candidates who are looking to mount a challenge to Trump like Texas Senator Ted Cruz or former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
“Grassroots organizing is always under represented in early polls. This is good news for the campaigns of Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, and Rand Paul. Each of these campaigns have their own issues to overcome, but they have all invested in grassroots organizations in Iowa, which will pay dividends as the caucuses near.”
The poll numbers of Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, are baffling. “The Iowa Poll has Walker tied for third place with eight percent. I understand that. I have long thought that the Walker campaign had squandered the early momentum they once enjoyed,” Robinson said. “It’s when you look closer that things get confusing.
“Walker’s favorability is sky-high, the highest it’s ever been in the poll at 71 percent. His unfavorable number has inched up to 14 from 11 back in May, but that still gives him a +56 favorability rating. So if you believe the poll, people still like Walker, but his support has been cut in half. It’s odd, but so is this entire caucus season.”
And, Robinson said, he sees an opening for an establishment candidate not named Bush. “There is still plenty of mainstream Republican voters who are looking for a candidate to get them excited,” he said. “There is an opportunity to capitalize on in Iowa for candidates like Rubio or Kasich. If neither of them makes a play for Iowa, they essentially are kicking the door open for Carly Fiorina.”