Walker Still Leads Nationally, Clinton Over 60%

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s national Republican poll for May continues to find Scott Walker leading the field, but it’s tightly clustered and his support has actually dropped two consecutive surveys now.

Walker’s at 18% to 13% for Marco Rubio, 12% each for Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Ted Cruz, 9% for Rand Paul, 5% for Chris Christie, and 2% for Rick Perry. This is the third national poll in a row where we’ve found Walker ahead but he was at 25% in late February and declined to 20% and now 18% on the two subsequent surveys.

Two candidates have the clear momentum in the six weeks since we did our last national Republican poll: Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee. In addition to being second place overall, Rubio is the most frequently named second choice of GOP voters at 15%. The 28% of Republicans who name him as either their first or second choice matches Walker for the top of the heap. His 13% represents a 7 point gain from his 6% standing in late March.

Huckabee’s gained 6 points from the last national poll we did. His 58% favorability rating is the highest of the GOP field and his net +34 rating at 58/24 is tied with Rubio’s at 56/22 to make him the most popular candidate.

Two other candidates clearly have their support headed in the wrong direction: Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz. Bush had been in 2nd at 17% and has now dropped to 5th at 11%. He continues to really struggle with voters identifying themselves as ‘very conservative.’ Just 5% support him for the nomination and his favorability with them is under water at 35/44. Bush actually leads the field with moderates at 24% but they only account for 21% of the primary electorate.

Ted Cruz’s announcement bounce- which moved him up to 3rd place at 16% in late March- has worn off quickly. He’s already back down to 10% and 6th place. Cruz actually leads the field with Tea Party voters at 25%- but he’s at only 4% with non-Tea Partiers and at this point just 24% of Republican voters align themselves with that movement.

Rand Paul and Ben Carson both got little if any announcement bump. Paul was at 10% with a 49/30 favorability in late March and he’s at 9% with a 48/29 favorability now. Carson’s position is relatively unchanged too. On the previous poll he was at 10% with a 48/14 favorability, and now he’s at 12% with a 54/18 favorability. He’s at least seen improvement in his name recognition even if it hasn’t shifted his overall standing much. 

Chris Christie continues to be very unpopular within the GOP primary electorate- only 31% of voters see him favorably to 52% with a negative view. He is unpopular with moderates and conservatives alike. Other Republicans we tested with upside down favorability ratings are Donald Trump (-6 at 37/43), George Pataki (-11 at 13/24), and Lindsey Graham (-12 at 19/31).

We also tested the recent conspiracy theory that the federal government is trying to take over Texas- 32% of Republican primary voters buy into it compared to 40% who don’t. Scott Walker leads the field among those who believe in the Texas conspiracy at 23% to 18% for Ted Cruz, 13% each for Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee, and 10% for Ben Carson. Jeb Bush leads among voters who don’t buy into it at 17% but since he only gets 6% with those who do his overall standing remains somewhat weak.

On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton leads with 63% to 13% for Bernie Sanders, 6% for Jim Webb, 5% for Lincoln Chafee, and 2% for Martin O’Malley. Clinton’s over 60% with liberals, moderates, women, whites, African Americans, and seniors and is at least over 50% with men, Hispanics, and young voters. Sanders continues to be the clear second choice among Democratic voters- 28% name him as their first or second choice with no one else in the second tier exceeding 11% on that measure.

Full results here

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