Hillary Clinton leads the entire Republican field for President in Iowa, but many of the match ups are closely contested and none of the potential candidates on either side are very popular.
Clinton’s leads over the GOP contenders range from 2 to 7 points. The ones who come closest at 2 points are Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio at 46/44, and Rand Paul at 45/43. The ones who face the biggest deficits at 7 points are Ben Carson, Rick Perry, and Scott Walker at 48/41 and Ted Cruz at 49/42. In between are Jeb Bush who trails by 3 at 45/42, and Chris Christie who trails by 5 at 45/40.
There is a large gap between how Clinton performs and the rest of the Democratic field does in potential general election match ups. Scott Walker leads all of the other hypothetical candidates by margins ranging from 5 to 10 points. It’s 39/34 over Sanders, 38/32 over O’Malley, 39/32 over Webb, and 39/29 over Chafee. Those leads are in large part a function of the low name recognition of the other Democratic hopefuls- each of them gets only between 54 and 64% of their own party’s vote against the various Republicans with almost twice as many Democrats as Republicans being undecided in each of those contests.
What’s interesting is that Clinton leads the GOP field in the state despite having pretty poor favorability numbers- only 41% of voters have a favorable opinion of her to 52% with a negative one. But none of the potential candidate are very popular in the state- Scott Walker has the best net favorability of the Republicans with at least 50% name recognition at -6 (31/37), followed by Marco Rubio at -9 (31/40), Mike Huckabee also at -9 (34/43), Rand Paul at -12 (31/43), Ted Cruz and Rick Perry both at -20 (26/46), Jeb Bush at -23 (26/49), and Chris Christie at -30 (23/53). Iowans just aren’t particularly fond of any of the prospective candidates. The ones who come closest to breaking even on their favorability are actually Ben Carson at -3 (23/26) and Bernie Sanders also at -3 (21/24) but that may just show that being less well known is a blessing.
Barack Obama continues to be unpopular in the state with a 44/49 approval rating but that’s a lot better than the numbers he was posting over the course of most of last year. The President’s improved standing may help explain why Clinton leads in the state, even if the margins are modest.
Full results here