First-in-the-Nation State of Play

While very early presidential polls are mostly (and often marginally) interesting in terms of how they affect the “invisible primary” of donors, activists and media, it’s almost never too early to poll Iowa, where presidential politics never really end. So PPP’s latest findings there are worth a gander.

A year ago PPP had Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee tied for the lead in Iowa at 16%, with four other candidates not far behind (Rand Paul at 15%, Jeb Bush at 14%, Chris Christie at 12% and Paul Ryan at 10%). Now Rubio’s fallen into a giant pit, and is down to 3%. Huck’s still in the lead at 17%, followed by Paul at 14%, Jebbie at 13%, and then Christie and Cruz (who wasn’t included in last year’s poll) at 10%. Scott Walker and Bobby Jindal also pop up at 7%–another indication of how far Rubio has fallen from grace.

Interestingly, though, Rubio’s favorable/unfavorable ratio isn’t that bad, at 42/14. The big loser by that metric, reflecting most recent national polls, is Chris Christie, who is barely above water at 38/35.

As we get closer to November, Republican presidential wannabes will be flooding Iowa to collect IOUs (or to put it another way, to pay the required toll) in fundraising events for state-level candidates. Polls like the PPP survey will start reflecting action on the ground rather than ephemeral preferences and buzz. And you know I’ll try to be all over it in first-in-the-nation analysis of the first-in-the-nation-caucus-state.

Support the Washington Monthly and get a FREE subscription

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.