PPP's newest North Carolina poll provides further evidence that Scott Walker is the momentum candidate in the Republican Presidential contest right now. Walker is tied with Ben Carson and Jeb Bush for the lead in the state at 14%, followed by Mike Huckabee at 13%. Those four constitute a clear first tier of contenders. Polling further back are Ted Cruz and Rand Paul at 6%, Chris Christie at 5%, and Rick Perry at 3%. (Mitt Romney received 16% support in the survey but of course announced he wouldn't run during the field period.)
This new poll also provides evidence that Jeb Bush has stumbled out of the gate a little bit since announcing in December that he would likely run for President. Before Bush's announcement he had a +44 net favorability rating with North Carolina Republicans at 61/17. In the last 8 weeks that's dropped to just a +13 spread at 45/32. Although Bush has dropped across the board his most pronounced decline has been with 'very conservative' voters, among whom he's gone from 63/19 to 40/37. That may not bode well for how things will go for Bush as his record is further scrutinized.
The other Republican candidate significantly on the decline is Chris Christie. He was at 14% in early December, but has now dropped all the way down to 5%. We've been finding similar trouble for him in other polling recently.
Carson and Walker continue to have relatively low name recognition. But they're quite popular among the voters who are familiar with them. Carson's favorability is 52/9 and Walker's is 47/11.
On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton continues to be dominant, polling at 54% to 18% for Joe Biden, 12% for Elizabeth Warren, 3% for Bernie Sanders, and 2% each for Martin O'Malley and Jim Webb. Everyone is within 2 points of where they were on our December poll with the exception of Warren, who's gained 5 points. Clinton is over 50% with liberals, moderates, women, whites, African Americans, and voters within every age group falling short of that mark only with men.
North Carolina continues to look like it will hold on to its new found swing state status when it comes to the general election. Clinton polls within 2 points of all the Republicans we tested against her on the survey. She leads Scott Walker 46/44, is tied with Ben Carson at 45%, is tied with Jeb Bush as well at 44%, and would have trailed Mitt Romney 45/44. North Carolina was the second closest state in the country in each of the last two Presidential elections, and it looks like there's a decent chance that trend will continue next year.
Full results here