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